We’ve known for a few weeks that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman had agreed to provide sworn testimony for lawyers who are representing a group of former players who have accused the league of hiding the dangers of repeated head trauma and promoting violence on the ice.
Now we know when.
According to a report in The New York Times, Bettman will be deposed on July 31.
Yeah, you’ll want to have a comfortable chair and a deep bucket of popcorn when that happens. This is going to be fascinating.
Not that Bettman is expected to reveal anything of value to the plaintiffs. He has, after all, repeatedly stated that there is no definitive evidence linking hockey activity and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease found in many athletes who played contact sports. At a press conference prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final he pointed out that his views were consistent with those of the judge who approved the 2014 settlement between the NFL and thousands of retired players involved in a similar legal action.
While others, including the plaintiffs, disagree with the commissioner’s position, they’ll be hard pressed to steer him off message. Bettman, who graduated from New York University School of Law in 1977 and spent four years with the New York City law firm Proskauer, Rose, Goetz and Mendelsohn, is usually the sharpest guy in the room. If they’re going to try to pin him down, they’ll find him to be a most elusive adversary.
The deposition could be made public if the case currently before Judge Susan Nelson of United States District Court in Minnesota advances.
That’ll be fun.