Expensive Speech: NHL Fines Red Wings After Jimmy D Calls Players "Cattle"
Free speech is expensive in the National Hockey League, as the Red Wings just found out.
The N.H.L. announced Saturday that it had fined the Red Wings an undisclosed amount for comments about the lockout made by Jim Devellano, a club senior vice president, in an interview published this week.
Like Mitt Romney and his comment about the nation's 47 percent, Devellano told the truth, and now he's suffering.
Fine estimates ranged from $250,000 to $1 million.
Devellano’s extensive remarks, which likened N.H.L. players to cattle and violated a leaguewide order barring team owners and officials from commenting on the lockout. Only Commissioner Gary Bettman and his deputy, Bill Daly, are authorized to comment on lockout matters. Bettman is authorized to levy a fine as high a $1 million for speaking out of turn.
“The owners can basically be viewed as the ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle,” Devellano told a web site based in British Columbia.
“The owners own the ranch and allow the players to eat there,” he said, adding: “The owners simply aren’t going to let a union push them around. It’s not going to happen.”