Gary Bettman is drawing the ire of some highly placed people, including one U.S Senator.
United States Senator Richard Blumenthal has written the NHL's commissioner a strongly worded letter, desperately urging him to change his stance on the topic of head injuries and possible Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in pro players.
This is not the first time that Blumenthal has called out Bettman over his willingness to ignore evidence. Blumenthal stated his displeasure with Bettman's views on a possible link between multiple head injuries and CTE back in July.
In the letter, Blumenthal openly asks why the league was so quick to discard evidence from researchers in the field, despite claiming that his players' best interests are the league's "top priority".
"The league's position is entangled in conflicting, mixed messages. The NHL insists that player safely is sacrosanct - a 'top priority' for the league - and recognizes the many dangers of concussions and head impacts. Your letter notes concussions can cause 'long-term lasting effects' like 'permanent brain injury' and 'permanent brain damage.' But the league appears unwilling to consider even the possibility that concussions cause CTE."
Bettman was quick to respond to Blumenthal in July, and stated that the Senator had given into "speculation and fear mongering." Bettman also suggested that the evidence linking head injuries and CTE was not concrete, and therefore not worth looking into.
Blumenthal made a plea to the NHL to change their stance on the subject, an even be proactive if it is truly the player's best interests at heart. The Senator suggested the league begin a foundation dedicated to researching CTE and the results of brain injuries.
"An investment in such research literally would help save lives - and enable the league to lead by example. It would put the NHL on the right side of history and health. Your apparent current indifference is a disservice to fans and players.
I invite you to re-evaluate and resubmit your response, delineating the steps you are taking to advance science instead of dismissing it."