Consumer advocate Ralph Nader wants to ban fighting in the National Hockey League.
Nader, who is founder of the League of Fans —a group that encourages social and civic responsibility in sports — wrote an open letter to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman saying, “it’s time to ban fighting and outlaw all blows to the head.”
“Fighting in hockey can no longer be a long-debated issue pitting those who find it barbaric and unsportsmanlike and those who argue that it’s an integral part of the fabric of the game,” Nader wrote. “The growing mound of research on sports concussions and brain injuries has taken the fighting issue to an entirely different level. We’re talking about short-and-long-term damage to the brain, the very foundation of who we are as people.”
Nader said that repeated head trauma shortened the careers of Pat LaFontaine, Eric Lindros and Keith Primeau. He added that concussions are threatening the careers of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Chris Pronger and the Pittsburgh Penguin’s Sidney Crosby.
Crosby missed the final 41 games of last season after suffering a concussion. He’s played only eight games this season due to concussion and neck issues. There is no timetable for his return.
Three enforcers, Derek Boogard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak, have died in the past year.
More than 60 players have suffered a concussion so far this season, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.