Bettman says mistakes 'magnified' when doling out punishment

Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:17pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - In light of the National Football League's poor response to its domestic violence crisis, National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman said on Monday there is no margin for error when doling out discipline.

Speaking at a luncheon for The Canadian Club of Toronto, Bettman did not specifically mention the NFL or its embattled commissioner Roger Goodell but did stress the importance of being proactive about off-ice conduct.

"Whenever that phone rings, and sometimes it does at two in the morning, you've got to respond and you've got to have your A-game otherwise you're liable to make a mistake. And when you make a mistake in this position it gets magnified," said Bettman.

"And it doesn't matter if you're right 99 out of 100 times, which is a pretty good batting record, it's that one that you'll have to live with and deal with."

Goodell has been under fire over the NFL's slow and fumbled response to the domestic violence incident involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, and questions about his leadership mushroomed as other cases have come to light.

Bettman said NHL players are expected to do the right thing and if they don't are held accountable. More importantly, the 62-year-old commissioner said leagues must get ahead of key issues to help prevent any negative incidents from happening.

"Our code of conduct is we expect you to do the right things and if you don't we hold you accountable. More important than that is I believe you need to be proactive," said Bettman.

When it comes to domestic violence, Bettman said the NHL has been educating its players for more than a decade, including at the league's rookie orientation camp. Education on substance abuse has been going on for over 20 years, he added.   Continued...

Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addresses the crowd before the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports