Once again, Steve Moore and Todd Bertuzzi are in the media spotlight.
Bertuzzi is arguing that Marc Crawford should be named by Moore in his lawsuit (and thus contribute to any damages Moore might eventually be awarded) because he told his players, in the locker room on March 8, 2004, that Moore “should pay the price” for his hit on Marcus Naslund.
Double check that date in the above paragraph. March 8, 2004. Four years have passed since the tragic events occurred. Why is this still dragging on?
I could resurrect the arguments on whether Bertuzzi’s punch or the ensuing dog pile actually caused Moore’s injury, but I won’t. I tired of that argument three years ago, as most of you did.
To most of us, the issue is long settled, and we really don’t want to hear anything more about it. That was my initial thought when I started reading the headlines this week.
The more I looked into it, though, the more I realized what a tragedy this actually has become. In a soap opera, someone will eventually be punished, the victor moving on to the next story in the sub-plot. That isn’t going to happen here.
Two men have had the course of their lives changed by a single moment of stupidity.
One man continues to play the game he loves, but with a marred reputation and a sub-par skill level.
The other man has never been able to return to the game, and must watch the man responsible continue his life, making millions while he struggles through rehabilitation. Can you imagine how that must feel?
I don’t need Joni Mitchell to look at both sides now, and realize that this is a no-win situation. Not for Bertuzzi, for Moore, or for the NHL.
This lawsuit is still in the discovery phase. I’m sorry, but if a criminal had to wait four years from charges to trial, the entire world would be crying about due process and timely justice. Did Crawford tell his players to make Moore pay? Possibly. He wouldn’t need to, however, because that was the thought running through every player’s minds anyway. That’s the mentality of the NHL. Had the instigator penalty not existed, Moore probably would have been jumped immediately after the hit, and that would have been the end of it. (Let’s not get into the instigator argument here, though. Perhaps later.)
I’m not saying I agree or disagree with the lawsuit. What I’m arguing for is resolution to this issue, once and for all. No more dragging in other people, looking for others to blame.
Resolution, so two men might get on with their lives. One playing the game he loves, and the other finding a new path in the world. Until this lawsuit is finished, both men and their families will be forced to live in the past.
Therein lies the tragedy of it all.