On the same day the Boston Red Sox confirmed what most observers have thought inevitable for weeks, if not months (ie. the dismissal of manager Bobby Valentine), NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced cancellation of the first two weeks of the 2012-12 season. Other than being widely despised, what could the former Stamford, CT Director Of Public Safety have in common with Dino Costa’s pick for the #1 Commissioner in all of professional sports? In the view of SI.com’s Michael Rosenbergb, more than a little bit, saying of Bettman, “how do you cancel an entire season to get the labor deal you want, then end up in the same position just a few years later?”
Valentine got in one mini-feud after another this year: With Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, a radio host, and probably a dozen other people we haven’t even heard about. And in every situation, Valentine can claim — and has claimed — he was right. He didn’t mean to offend Youkilis. The players never gave him a chance. The radio host asked a rude question. And all of those things may be true. But Valentine has been through this before, in Texas and New York, and he had most of the same problems there. He is a self-promoter who talks too much, and he would think he is the smartest man in the room if he walked into a Mensa meeting.
Valentine may be right about many things. But his insistence on being right about everything, and letting everybody know it dooms him.
What does this have to do with Gary Bettman? Well, he can say the teams are losing money and the players don’t get it and they all need to work together — and he may be right. He can point to all the issues and say the players need to give in on this and sacrifice that — and he may be right.
But Bettman’s job is not just to be right. His job is to give the labor peace to his league and prosperity to his owners. And he has consistently failed at both — the latter by his own admission.
If many owners still aren’t making money after two decades of Bettman’s commissionership, then whose fault is that?