Gary Bettman: A Chip Off The NBA Block?

Scott Fitzsimmons@@Chuck_SimmsAnalyst IJuly 16, 2008

Ever since Gary Bettman started in the NHL, he has had his own interests in mind. Fans were angry enough when the NHL lost a partial season in the 90's, but losing the 2004-05 season was horrible for hockey fans.

It seemed like a good thing to bring the salary cap in, but after the cap was raised to over $56 million for this season, we're back to the same place as before where it's harder for the small market teams to stay alive.

We've seen him rig the 2005 Entry Draft to make sure the Pittsburgh Penguins were handed Sidney Crosby. It's a little too convenient that the "random" Draft was done behind the blue curtain to give the team that was in the most trouble received the most coveted draft pick since Eric Lindros. Pittsburgh was a huge part of the history of the NHL and the Stanley Cup. So when Mario Lemieux discusses moving the team, better give him Sidney Crosby.

Bettman's connection with the referees is a little more subtle. Some referees are better than others at hiding the fact that they are working with Bettman. Others like Mick McGeough aren't afraid to make absurd calls at crucial times.

Many Canadians are also quick to throw there ideas of how Bettman has worked to  "Americanize" the game, and conspired to keep Canadian teams down.

Bettman has been able to hide his corruption for this long, but the uncovering of corruption in the NBA shows us that the reality is there, and Gary Bettman learned his craft from the people who are right in the middle of the scandal.

After former NBA referee Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to taking cash payoffs from gamblers, Donaghy has made statements accusing the NBA and it's officials of conspiring to fix games whose outcomes were beneficial to the NBA

Of course NBA Commissioner David Stern denies all of Donaghy's accusations, but many sports outlets are taking a look at NBA officiating, and asking questions to see if there is any legitimacy to these claims.

With these questions being asked, one has to wonder; if the NBA is guilty of corruption, how far does it go back? Before 1993 maybe? Gary Bettman was with the NBA from 1981 to 1993, where for some of the time he held the position of Senior Vice President.  That position was 3rd in command. That is a lot of time to pick up some of those "habits".

Nobody has come out and questioned Gary Bettman's credibility, but then again, no one had come out and criticized the NBA before the Tim Donaghy fiasco was uncovered.

If anything is uncovered in the NBA's closet, don't be surprised to see Gary Bettman's name in the mix.

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