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Gary Bettman Officially Wins Jerk Of The Year Award

Published December 19, 2023 at 10:24

Yesterday, an award was given to an unlikely candidate. Of course it wasn't an award someone would be quite happy to receive but it's pretty well deserved.

Gary Bettman Wins ***hole Of The Year Award

Gary Bettman's three-decade tenure as NHL commissioner has brought growth in size and revenue to the league there's no question about it. With that being said, it hasn't been without challenges. During that time we suffered three lockouts, four shortened seasons and Olympic rights controversies which explains why Gary Bettman's reputation is busted.

Yesterday, Bettman received some criticism as Outsports, a group that covers LGBTQ, named him the 2023 '***hole of the Year,' highlighting his true leadership within the sports community.

More from Outsports:

Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, is the undisputed Outsports Asshole of the Year, for his assault on the LGBTQ community in 2023.

Bettman oversaw one LGBTQ public relations disaster after another this year, and every step he took on behalf of the NHL made the situation worse.

Things began to unravel in January when then-Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov refused to wear a rainbow warm-up with the rest of his teammates during Pride Night.

In the wake of one player telling an entire community of fans that their humanity wasn't worth acknowledging for just 20 minutes, the NHL responded by issuing a statement saying «we continue to encourage [players'] voices on social and cultural issues.»

At a moment when decisive leadership was needed, the NHL's pablum allowed Provorov's homophobia to metastasize throughout the league. Soon, entire teams like the New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, and Chicago Blackhawks decided to ditch their Pride jerseys altogether, emboldened by Bettman to bend a knee to homophobia.

During All-Star Weekend, Bettman was asked about the rash of open homophobia throughout the NHL. His response was to lecture the LGBTQ community to honor the anti-gay players' decision to be very publicly homophobic.

By the time the season ended, the NHL's response to the Pride jerseys mess had turned into a crisis. But Bettman was just getting warmed up.

In mid-June, he announced a bold new strategy for combating hockey's homophobes: abject capitulation. To avoid more conflicts, Bettman announced that the NHL would be treating Pride jerseys like the 2004-05 season, cancelling them outright.

By now, Bettman had already wrapped up Asshole of the Year, and it wasn't close. But he still had almost six months left to run up the score, and he chose to take advantage of every minute.

Once the new season began, the league office sent memos to every team expounding on its new policies. Most noteworthy was an edict announcing that the NHL was banning Pride Tape on the ice at all times.

Bettman was declaring war on his own game's equipment and, make no mistake, the LGBTQ community. It was one of the most insane policies a commissioner of a major sport had ever enacted — especially in response to an act of prejudice.

- Outsports

December 19   |   90 answers
Gary Bettman Officially Wins Jerk Of The Year Award

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