A Hard-Hitting Double Standard?

Brad GilliamContributor IJuly 8, 2009

One night last week, I watched a montage of hockey fights from the NY Rangers. As I was watching this violent segment, I thought to myself "why doesn't the media jump on hockey?" A lot of these hockey fights get extremely violent. Players land hard hitting shots on their opponent leaving them with a bloody nose or worse.

In hockey, the punishment for fighting is a few minutes in the penalty box (lets just say it's a timeout). However, in the NBA and NFL, players would be suspended for a significant portion of the season.

We all remember what happened in 2004 at the Palace of Auburn Hills. We remember former Indiana Pacers' forward, Ron Artest, jumping into the stands to fight fans. Yes this situation was extreme, but before the brawl started, then Detroit Pistons' center, Ben Wallace, shoved Artest by the throat. Wallace was suspended for six games. Artest missed the remainder of the season.

Why are we placing a double standard on fighting in sports?

There is no difference when hockey players fight than when football and basketball players fight. Then why does there seem to be a difference? I don't know if anyone knows there is a difference. The only reason I have heard is that fighting is a hockey tradition.

I understand that fighting in hockey is a tradition, but we are in a new age. Kids have the ability to access content that they should not be viewing. When kids see this violence, it may encourage him to fight others. It may not affect many, but we don't want that to occur at all. There is enough violence on TV, in the movie theaters and in video games.

When the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills occurred, the media was so negative towards today's NBA players. They talked about the way they dressed, how they talked, etc. I didn't hear any negative comments about players fighting in hockey.

Is it a racial issue?

It could be, since most players in the NBA and NFL are black and there are many stereotypes that come with the black male athlete. I wish it wasn't a racial issue, but that is our world today. We tend to look more at stereotypes than the individual. 

With sporting leagues filled with black athletes, the commissioners of the NBA and NFL have been effective in toning down vicious activities. I want hockey to follow suit and tone down the violence in their sport.

If basketball and football can put the clamp on fighting, hockey should at least reduce it and have harsher penalties. We know that the NHL will not get rid of this aspect of the game completely because it would be a bad move financially.

All I am asking is for the NHL to attempt so we can get rid of this double-standard.