Irresponsible Media: The Colin Campbell Saga That Has Been Swept Under the Rug

Mickey McGuireCorrespondent INovember 16, 2010

NHL VP Colin Campbell (left), and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (right)
NHL VP Colin Campbell (left), and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (right)Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A series of emails National Hockey League Vice President and league disciplinarian Colin Campbell allegedly sent to NHL officials revealed that Campbell called Marc Savard of the Boston Bruins a "little fake artist" and criticized officials who called penalties on his son, NHL winger Gregory Campbell.

The emails, which were taken from the Dean Warren hearing in 2007 and leaked by Tyler Dellow of, not only confirm Campbell's incompetency and bias, but reveal that he holds some sort of grudge against Marc Savard.

Some NHL fans, specifically Bruins fans, are wondering if this grudge played a role in the non-suspension of Matt Cooke after he ended Marc Savard's season in 2009-2010 with a dirty hit to the head. 

Savard still is out of action because of that vicious hit that Cooke laid on him last year, yet there were no repercussions.

Campbell also decided that Sean Avery using the term "sloppy seconds" warranted a six-game suspension. It was initially an "indefinite suspension."

Earlier this season, Niklas Hjalmarsson of the Chicago Blackhawks slammed Jason Pominville of the Buffalo Sabres into the boards, causing him to suffer from a concussion that will likely end his season. Campbell decided that this hit only deserved two games.

Two games for ending somebody's season. Six games for making a silly remark to the media. That's inconsistency at its finest.

The media has dropped the ball on arguably the biggest NHL story of the year. You won't see this come up as more than a small headline on the ESPN ticker. It won't get the Brett Favre coverage that never seems to end.

Heck, the NHL is hardly worth a mention to some of the major sports networks in the United States. Forget the fact that a major scandal is currently taking place, and it's currently being swept under the rug.

They won't even give the NHL a mention, despite the fact that it could be the only professional sport from October to June if the NFL and NBA both lockout next year.

After the NHL came to the defense of Campbell, the story suddenly became a non-issue. If this were the National Football League or Major League Baseball, the media would be all over this story. The league disciplinarian, the man who decides whether players get suspended, is unfair and biased in his decision making.

The emails prove that. Shouldn't Campbell be held accountable by the league? This is not only bad news for Campbell, but the league as well. Imagine if the NBA supported Tim Donaghy? What's the difference?

Other than the fact that Campbell is still employed by the league, and he technically wasn't committing a crime, he's still not playing by the rules.

It says a lot about the Gary Bettman administration as a whole. There is so much irresponsibility up and down the front office of the NHL.

ESPN would rather talk about Cameron Newton, the troubled University of Auburn quarterback currently under NCAA investigation for something he did while he was being recruited.

The media criticizes amateur athletes for wanting to be treated like professional athletes, yet they treat them like professional athletes with the amount of coverage they receive.

"As Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations for the National Hockey League, Colin Campbell is required to analyze and assess, candidly and directly, the performance of every member of the Hockey Operations Department, including those of all on-ice officials," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told in a statement.

"He also is required to execute the direction of the 30 clubs with regard to standards of on-ice rule enforcement as well as on-ice player conduct.

"In the execution of those rigorous and challenging duties over 12 seasons, Colin has been thorough, thoughtful, professional and scrupulous; his integrity has been impeccable, and he has no role whatsoever in matters pertaining to games in which his son plays. Colin Campbell has the complete confidence and support of the National Hockey League, as do all members of the Hockey Operations Department."

If having "no role" pertaining to games in which his son plays means sending emails to NHL officials complaining about said calls, one has to wonder what exactly "having a role" means.

The media needs to hold Colin Campbell and the NHL responsible, yet they are just sweeping the story under the rug as if it has no significance.

It isn't like these are just random allegations about incompetency; fans have been frustrated with the way Campbell has performed his job for years. Now that there is real evidence that Campbell has been unethical and biased, no call for action?

The media really dropped the ball on this one, and they need to wake up. Just like they ignored steroids in baseball, then came to their senses years later, maybe once they realize that people like Campbell are ruining a potentially great league, they'll wake up.