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The anachronistic Brian Burke on fighting – defending the indefensible

Brian Burke just has to shut his great gaping gob!

TERRANCE GAVAN – EDITORIAL MANAGER

TORONTO – I came here, like my columnist Seamus O’Bradaigh to get some answers today. Himself vanished as soon as I parked the car off to his secret “garage” for a meeting with his nefarious pair of deepthroats and I hie off to a bar near the New Maple Leaf Gardens (I haven’t a clue what the fucking name is – so don’t write because it’s the OMLG to me) to find my own sortie of decrepit sports pundits who have been wading deep in the muck and mire, both personally and professionally, surrounding the latest pandering trot emanating from the great gaping gob of that Brian Burke.

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Can Burkey be slugging this far above his weight? NOT! Hope Burkey catches up with these guys.

But first let me copy an astute observation on all this incredibly thin gruel posited by that Harvard barrister Brian Himself. It’s from Shannon Proudfoot  (yes daughter of the one and only) who’s a pretty competent writer with SportsNet here in Canada.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][quote]Brian Burke writes in defence of fighting, but—with due respect for his enormous hockey knowledge—all he does is trot out the same tired, unproven arguments these debates always rely on. “Reduced to its simplest truth, fighting is one of the mechanisms that regulates the level of violence in our game,” he writes. Except then he completely undercuts that by acknowledging the “scary” hits on Dan Boyle and Niklas Kronwall that happened in spite of the policing mechanism of fighting.

He says that players are big boys who know the risks of the game and willingly consent. But it’s disingenuous to claim anyone is fully informed when the continued presence of fighting implicitly sends the message that it’s safe enough, and the extent of the devastation to players’ brains and lives is only now becoming clear. [/quote]

What she’s essentially saying here is that “Brian Burke is an idiot… oh and by the way he should shut the fuck up about fighting in hockey.” Now maybe I’m capturing her intent a bit too loosely, but it’s my goddam column so I’ll paraphrase the hell out of anything, as I see fit. Plus I knew her old man, and I think that’s how he would have said it.

Anyway let’s dissect himself and give him some space here because Himself is nothing id not a space eating hoover willing to expound at length about all and sundry.

 

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From Himself: So let’s begin with a few premises. First, the role and amount of fighting in hockey has been systematically reduced over the last 20 years. That’s a good thing. Plus, there is no chance that the role or amount of fighting will increase (other than a spike here and there). That’s also a good thing. The people in hockey who think fighting is an integral part of the game also are convinced that we don’t need more fighting.

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Here’s what I think about that. Thank you Brian. Are we done?

Err… no apparently we are not. Himself the upright neanderthal must now wade in with the reasons why his introductory para above is just a lickspittle nod to any reasonable sports fan who knows that fighting is fucking insane at any level in professional sports. Futbol, basketball, football, jai alai, cricket, polo, swimming, track, skeet shooting (thank the fucking lord!), wrestling and all other sports ban the throwing of punches.

But that’s not what we’re talking about in hockey. Himself says that boxing must be installed presumably to “police” abhorrent behavior of its more naughty lads. Complicated? Well, he’s talking about the cheap shot artists who dwell on the periphery of the rules. Himself says that these guys must be policed because, apparently, every ref in the NHL is in love with this gang of philanderers.

Are you finding it hard to follow? Of course. You’re intelligent. Let’s let Himself Moot Court the shit out of this flighty goddam’ premise.

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Himself: Second, a guy like me who supports fighting is not saying to ignore the medical consequences. I care deeply about my players. They deserve state-of-the-art diagnostics, treatment and full disclosure of medical risks. The NHL has been a leader in this area in pro sports and should be applauded for it. But a player informed of risks should be permitted to assume them. When I played, I never feared getting killed or seriously injured in a fight. I feared getting run headfirst into the boards and breaking my neck. We send these young men out to play a full-contact sport with no out of bounds. It’s a violent, dangerous game full of risks. And that full contact is what lured many of us to the sport.

Reduced to its simplest truth, fighting is one of the mechanisms that regulates the level of violence in our game. Players who break the rules are held accountable by other players. The instigator rule has reduced accountability. Eliminating fighting would render it extinct.

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Here’s what I think about that.

Pure unalderated poppycock, ponypiss, bullshit and malarkey. The latter adjective added for all of my Irish Tribe, cops and firemen and pr- bono barristers, who worship at the altar of Burkian rhetoric.

How do I know that it’s pure unalderated poppycock, ponypiss, bullshit and malarkey?

Because Himself gave this particular screed in print. Not on tape and not in front of a camera.

Here’s what I think about that.

Himself went the print route because he knows just how mind-blowingly batshit fucking crazy those words would sound in a YouTube clip. And Brian may be a swarthy cave man with an anachronistic bent, but he ain’t crazy.

So, in closing, shut the fuck up Brian Burke.

Educated people and even some people who read the Toronto Sun are cogent enough to read between the lines.

At the bottom of all this, Himself is like all of those lickspittle, moribund suits in the upper management positions of the commissioner’s office, who fear that removing fighting might put less fannies in the very expensive cheap seats. Gary Bettman i selling out the safety and security of his employees in favor of short term profits. Period. I defy anyone to argue that premise. Because it’s written fluent on the stonecropper chisel of that bent-tongued visage Bettman. He could not give a shit about the players. Actions speak. Words reek!

Here’s what I think about that.

You too Bettman. Shut the fuck up! Go find Himself and discuss this disquieting Bupkis and BS in a quiet corner of a quiet bar.

And quit trotting out this nonsense where it can be read by intelligent, moral and caring hockey fans.

We are sick of the bullshit.

Find Terrance on twitter @terrancegavan[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]