Flames President Brian Burke: Violent Athletes Don’t Deserve Paychecks

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Hockey: U.S. Men's National Team CampThe NFL’s domestic violence scandals prompted by the graphic Ray Rice video are the hot topic right now, so naturally, the issue has come up in conversation with other professional sports leagues.

Calgary Flames president Brian Burke gave his opinion at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., deeming domestic violence “unacceptable.”

Burke believes that professional athletes that act out violently off the ice shouldn’t receive their paycheck.

“The notion that ‘I get paid to fight on a hockey rink so that same level of violence is acceptable on the street or in my home,'” Burke said per The Associated Press. “And if a player can’t separate them, then the player doesn’t deserve to earn professional-athlete wages.”

Burke said that in the case of indisputable evidence that the incident occurred, a player would be immediately dropped from the team.

“So in the Rice case, when there’s a video, we don’t have to guess what happened there,” he said. “That case, we’d say, ‘We’re done with this player. He’s done with us.’ We’re going to do the right thing first.”

The NHL does not currently have a policy on domestic violence, and suspensions from off-ice incidents are rare.

Most recently, Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov was charged with assault in Nov. 2013 in a domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend. The charges against Varlamov were dropped, and he was not disciplined.

It would be wise for the NHL to implement a specific policy for handling domestic violence in response to these events. Surely, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman does not want the risk of ending up in the position that Roger Goodell is in now.

Photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images

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