In the past week we have had a front row seat to see how the current review committee, and Colin Cambell, determine player suspensions. We all saw the hit, the coaches responses, player responses, media input, public outcry, etc, etc etc. Its a long, and flawed, system that in the end determines a punishment which is usually met with and equal amount of approval and displeasure.
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The purpose of Mr Cambell's department is to, in simple terms, police the players. When and offense outside the boundaries of 'normal' play is committed it is of to the disciplinary office for review. The case is seen, and verdict is handed out, and the player is 'sentenced' so to speak.
After a decision is made then its time for the media to provide us with every angle of feed back possible. We get the coaches, the gm's, the fan's, the office janitor, and of course.....the players. In my opinion the only group that Cambell should be concerned about appeasing is the players. Are they not here to police the players? It is, after all, the player with whom the offender is playing with and against. The media knows this, because we see more player feedback than any other. So, why exactly do we have Mr Cambell? Is he really necessary? I don't think he is....
After watching all week to see how "The Steve Downie Case" would turn out it came to me that there could be a better way of doing this. Why not have a committee staffed and commissioned by the players? Think about it. In any scenario a punishment handed out by your peers is generally the most fitting to the crime both in makeup and severity.
We have heard over and over how the instigator has taken away the players ability to 'Police themselves'. Having the players have the ability to police themselves seems to be the consensus among the league, both players and executives, as something that will improve the game and reduce injuries. The instigator rule, be all indications, is staying and policing players using fear of a beating will probably never again be a viable option for players to police themselves. A disciplinary commission, one consisting of a board of player reps, would once again give them that ability.
I anticipate this suggestion will come with responses both positive and negative, but you can't argue that the idea has merit. One response I anticipate to the negative will be the argument that the players don't have time. Folks, that is no longer an issue. With today's technology of video conferencing, satellite phones, and and endless supply of replays and angles, any one of these reps could participate in a review from the comfort of their own living room, or in their seat 35000 feet up on their way to their next game. The average review session probably lasts less than an hr and their could be tolerances set for the number of members required to proceed with a review. The committee could also be made to include a large amount of players, say for example 50, of which a selection of 8-10 would be selected for each review. This rotation of players would not only help to give fair and objective reviews, but it would also allow for players availability to not be an issue.
I strongly believe this change could be an inevitable evolution of the disciplinary process, but for now it is only a suggestion, one that I think deserves consideration. What do you think?
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