Bettman has drawn a line in the sand for future offenses
After Gary Bettman handed down a stiff 15-game suspension to Mark Bell for a drunken driving offense, Scott Burnside wonders what's next for the players and the league.
In many ways, the NHL's suspension of Mark Bell for 15 games on top of his placement in the second phase of the league's substance abuse and behavioral health program was a no-brainer.An impaired Bell plowed into a parked pick-up truck near San Jose a year ago and then fled the scene. He pleaded guilty to charges related to the accident and will serve a six-month jail term at the end of this coming NHL season. He was lucky no one was killed, and according to various media reports, has stopped drinking and has turned his life around. But with the blizzard of bad news that has dogged the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA this summer, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman could afford to come down heavily on Bell and he did. "Playing in the National Hockey League is a privilege, and with that privilege comes a corresponding responsibility for exemplary conduct off the ice as well as on it," Bettman said in a statement. Bettman called Bell's conduct "a violation of our covenant with our fans, and to the game, and is prejudicial to the welfare of the league."
"I think ultimately it's part of our responsibility as players" to be held to a higher standard, Adams said. "It's really a reflection of the time we're in in sports."
Scott Burnside is the NHL writer for ESPN.com.
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