Thursday, December 6, 2007

Todd Bertuzzi Uses the Nazi Concentration Camp Guard Defense

I wrote that shamelessly over-the-top title for a few reasons.

First, whenever someone in the past 60 years has blamed his superiors for giving orders in an attempt to absolve himself of culpability in performing an insidious act, the WWII comparison has been a natural one. Especially in a high-profile public situation that involves testimony or court proceedings of some kind.

And, I'm invoking a variation of Godwin's law to demonstrate that the Todd Bertuzzi/Steve Moore incident has taken on the same qualities in online hockey forums. Any heated discussion that goes on long enough will inevitably see references made to the attack that took place almost four years ago.

In can be any hockey discussion on any topic. If it carries on, it will eventually go off on a tangent and someone will mention the on-ice assault that ended Moore's career and turned Bertuzzi into a dead-eyed zombie.

But back to the latest revelation that the Canuck's coach at the time, Marc Crawford, told Vancouver players that Moore "must pay pay the price."

In response, the ranting lunatics on discussion boards who are desperate to let everyone know that they're hip to the violent realities of the game and that such tough-talk is commonplace in hockey dressing rooms, once again succeed in getting to the crux of the most irrelevant aspect of the argument.

It doesn't matter that Crawford never intended or hoped for such a horrific final result. The fact both Bertuzzi and Canuck's GM David Nonis have verified this version of events lends credence to what Moore and his lawyers have been saying all along. That he was targeted, that an atmosphere of revenge was stoked by Vancouver coaches and that this contributed to the assault and thus the organization itself is partially responsible.

A judge or jury is not going to give a flying fuck about the "unique" elements that surround the game of hockey and whether or not some people think that players tacitly accept a special code of conduct by agreeing to play in the NHL. The chances of Moore winning a hefty payout just went way up.

This saga and the reactions of many people continue to amaze me. Specifically, the number of sociopaths who see each subsequent step taken towards litigation by Moore and his team of lawyers as an opportunity to insult and ridicule the former Colorado Avalanche player. It's always those who most like to issue threats by proxy and thrill in claiming they possess a special understanding of the game.

Probably the same individuals who have never known the sickly and singular experience of being done over in such a gutless and life-altering manner. Most people haven't and could never empathize with Moore to any real degree. Many others have been victimized, used or cheated in far less severe ways and still been overwhelmed with murderous rage.

Perhaps that's the one aspect of this whole sad affair that sends the Moore-hating pukes off the deep end. They barely contain their glee at the vigilante nature of Bertuzzi's assault but are offended that Moore responds in the only way a civilized society allows.

If you begrudge Moore for going after as much as he can get, then you are devoid of imagination or haven't lived enough to know how this will affect him in ways more devastating and long-lasting than just the loss of livelihood.

In such a situation you aim as high as you possibly can, knowing that an eventual settlement will fall somewhere far below that. Whatever he receives in compensation, it will be cold comfort for never being able to play another game in the NHL.

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