Blog Entry

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

Posted on: February 6, 2012 5:49 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 6:18 pm
Ralph Nader is talking to you, Commish. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Hey, remember Ralph Nader? Of course you do, he has run for president a couple of times on the Green Party ballot, garnering 2.74 percent of the popular vote in the 2000 election, decided by the narrowest of margins to George W. Bush.

Well he's a bit of an activist, you see, always has been. He is the founder of a sports activist (for lack of a better term) website called League of Fans. On Monday Nader helped write an open letter to Gary Bettman asking for the abolition of fighting from the NHL.

Really. Ralph Nader talking hockey.

Dear Mr. Bettman:

It’s time to act. The National Hockey League must take immediate steps to ban fighting and outlaw all blows to the head. And you, Mr. Bettman, as league commissioner, must lead the way.

Fighting in hockey can no longer be a long-debated issue pitting those who find it barbaric and unsportsmanlike and those who argue that it’s an integral part of the fabric of the game. The growing mound of research on sports concussions and brain injuries has taken the fighting issue to an entirely different level. We’re talking about short-and-long-term damage to the brain, the very foundation of who we are as people.

Nader's letter goes on to acknowledge the lack of any proof of direct causality between fighting and such brain issues as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (better known as CTE). He also cites the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Wade Belak and Rick Rypien and the possibility that brain trauma played a part on their deaths.

Nader goes on.

Your league has created a department of player safety. That’s well and good. But a quick question: How can you continue to allow fighting, in which the primary target is the head of your opponent, and seriously make the argument that you’re doing all you can to make player safety a priority?

That's an issue that nobody can seem to answer and is a sticking point in the pro-fighting/anti-headshot stance the league has. It's a bit hard to justify letting guys punch each other's heads while stopping players from hitting each other's heads. It's a bit of a contradiction, to be sure.

In closing, here is what Nader writes.

On behalf of hockey players everywhere – and their families — here’s hoping you have the strength and courage to take this decisive step.


Ralph Nader, Founder, League of Fans

I didn't know that Nader represented hockey players and their families. As a matter of fact, from just about everything I've seen and read, players almost unanimously don't want fighting out of the sport. So asking for the league to do something that they don't want done on their behalf? Doesn't jive with me.

It is and remains a worthwhile cause to discuss in hockey. As long as the sport is played fighting and its place in the game will be debated.

But I'd think Nader has a better chance of moving into the White House than the NHL deciding that his letter was the one to push them to change their stance on fighting.

H/t to All Things Avs

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Since: Feb 8, 2012
Posted on: February 8, 2012 3:44 pm

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

Nader is delivering the right message to Bettman.  How can the NHL care about the players when they allow two people to pound each other in the head. It’s time to eliminate fighting from the game – http://itsnotpartofthegame.blogspot


I don’t believe that fighting ever had a place in the game and as far as the accountability argument goes, why were the 70′s and 80′s some of the bloodiest hockey years while fighting was at its peak?  There were lots of “policemen” in the game but it didn’t seem to help.  Let’s focus on skilled hockey players, good hard hitting and fast paced action. Not two grown men wrestling for a few minutes before falling to the ice.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 8, 2012 11:52 am

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

sweetluny, how the fuck can you compare wrestling to hockey. are fucking nuts? 
and to call the ufc not a sport. in sports you train for your respective sport. tell me those guys dont work their bags off getting in shape for a fight 6 months away. if ufc isnt a sport than boxing wouldnt be a sport either. now you not only disgraced every hockey player out there, but now you've disgraced the great joe frazier ( RIP) mohammed ali, rocky marciano.
like give your head a shake. id like to see you stand in the octagon and try to fight someone, take the punching out and just grapple, you probably would be gassed after 45 seconds. and thats not a sport, 

and cant believe how many douchebag there are that would sit along with nader.

Since: Sep 30, 2011
Posted on: February 8, 2012 8:02 am

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

Other sports get by without fighting. I don't see football or baseball players trading punches and having enforcers roaming about. Baseball essentially got rid of the beanball. Hockey doesn't need fighting. That's just superstition. There were plenty of cheap shots when enforcers were in vogue. Hockey is afraid of losing fans and revenue if they outlaw fighting. That's the real bottom line.

Since: Aug 27, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 10:00 pm

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

Dude - Churla is still 'of this planet'!

Since: Jul 29, 2011
Posted on: February 7, 2012 9:54 pm

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

just go away, Ralph   please

it's time 

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: February 7, 2012 9:24 pm

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

What's next Ralph? Stop boxing?

Since: Feb 12, 2010
Posted on: February 7, 2012 6:58 pm

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

FACT: If fighting goes the injuries will climb. Keep the goons on the ice cause they dumb-azz players from making cheap shots. Would Avery had stood in front of Brodeur "Waving like he just dont care" if he knew a George laraque was there. Would Crosby be out now if the likes of a probert was allowed to kick the ass of the offender. NOPE. Cheap shots wore mostly in-check when the Proberts, the Nilans, and the rest of the protection force were allowed to do as they do. If ya dont like the fighting... piss off. Your narrow mindedness is getting these players injured with your insistant complaining about something you have no idea about. How do you control kaos... With an enforcer!!! OH and by the way. If your for removing fighting in hockey... my lord dont ever watch a lacrosse game. You'd have a heart attack!!!

Since: May 13, 2011
Posted on: February 7, 2012 6:26 pm

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

Oh great, now Nader is interested in the NHL.

You are looking at our next commissioner, another lawyer.

This douche should focus on superPAC's and  corporations are "people" laws.

Go plant a tree and leave my hockey alone, consumer activist.

Without fighting salary cap floor non-playoff teams would have no way of putting butts in the seats. bettman knows this fact.

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: February 7, 2012 5:36 pm

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

   What's next Nader, ban the skate blades, then the sticks, and finally the deadly puck. We'll start calling it full padded wiffle ball.

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: February 7, 2012 5:30 pm

Ralph Nader's letter asking for end to fighting

   I'm shocked he would attack fighting in hockey when there is ultimate fighting and boxing alive and well. He knows absolutly nothing about hockey. He should stick his head back where it belongs.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or