In a rare event, commissioners for North America’s four major sports shared the same stage on Tuesday, with Gary Bettman representing the NHL alongside Roger Goodell (NFL), Adam Silver (NBA), and Roger Manfred (MLB).
John Ourand of the Sports Business Daily was on hand to record the four commissioners’ thoughts on a myriad of sports issues, and to little surprise, Bettman provided some of the most interesting responses. You can read Ourand’s full report here, and also check out his Twitter feed for individual snippets.
Some of Bettman’s most fascinating points came in how he discussed violence – or physicality – in the sport.
It’s unclear if there’s video available, which is a shame since Bettman apparently uttered the word “fisticuffs.”
“The issue of fisticuffs in hockey gets overblown,” Bettman said, via Ourand. “It’s an extremely small part of the game. That gets to be a distraction, both from the media and from other quarters where somebody’s trying to prove a point. At the end of the day, what people expect from our game and from football is physicality and both leagues work very hard to make sure our games are as safe as possible.”
Bettman’s certainly correct about fighting becoming an increasingly small facet of life in the NHL, possibly to the chagrin of Jay Baruchel.
His thoughts on gambling seem especially relevant with the advent of the Vegas Golden Knights, too:
Check out Ourand’s full report for more from Bettman, not to mention three other major sports commissioners.
This post will be updated if, miraculously, video surfaces of Bettman saying “fisticuffs.”
Update: We have video. It is long.