Yes, this isn’t a story about the NFL. Feel free to scroll to the next article.
But there’s a connection to the NFL, given that this story is about a pro athlete blatantly assaulting a game official.
Although Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman claims that his cross-checking of linesman Don Henderson was accidental, the video tells a far different story. The video shows that Wideman deliberately crammed his stick into Henderson’s back, knocking Henderson into the board and send him careening onto the ice.
“I took a pretty good hit down in the corner and had some pretty good pain in my shoulder and neck,” Wideman said, via ESPN.com. “I was just trying to get off the ice and kind of keeled over. At the last second, I looked up and saw [Henderson] and couldn’t avoid it.
Again, the video tells a far different story. Wideman should be prosecuted for assault. At a minimum, the NHL should impose a lengthy suspension on Wideman, possibly banning him for the rest of the year.
Here’s where I try to bring it back to why you’re here. If something like this happened in the NFL, it would be the top story in all of sports, and it would be covered by the morning shows on the major network along with the evening newscasts.
Actually, the NFL had a similar scandal, in the early days of the Internet and pre-social media. In December 1999, referee Jeff Triplette accidentally threw a flag into the facemask of former Browns tackle Orlando Brown, who responded by confronting Triplette and knocking him down. Brown was ejected and suspended, but it was clear he had provocation (he later settled a lawsuit against the NFL, before resuming his career).
Wideman had no such provocation, making the situation far more egregious. Wideman should be in jail; hopefully, he won’t be on a rink any time soon.