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Ian White calls Gary Bettman “an idiot” and civility flies out the window

Nov 16, 2012, 2:16 PM EDT

Ian White Getty Images

So…this probably won’t help end the lockout.

According to Red Wings defenseman Ian White, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is an “idiot” that’s “done nothing but damage the game.”

White’s full quote from Friday, as per, follows:

“I got to be honest, I personally think he’s an idiot. Since he’s come in I think he’s done nothing but damage the game. If you think of all the moves he’s made, the teams that are all struggling seem to be the teams he put in places where there’s (less support for hockey).”

We’re not going to spend too much time breaking down White’s justifications for criticizing Bettman. The substance of White’s argument isn’t new and most fans are sick and tired of debating which side is right or wrong in this dispute.

The story here is a player calling the commissioner an “idiot,” because it represents the decline of civility in this lockout.

Granted, it’s not quite Chris Chelios taking a page out of the mafia playbook…

…so at least we know players have said worse during lockouts and seasons have still been saved.

  1. canuckinamerica - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Done nothing for the game? One would think that a below average player like White would be appreciative of the work done by Bettman and his staff in ensuring that players of his caliber are making multi million dollar contracts. I suspect that White has a law degree like the “idiot”?

    • hockeyflow33 - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      Lots of idiots have a JD

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:45 PM

        @canuckinamerica: White can be both a solid forward and D-man. I don’t know many below average players that can say that.

        @hockeyflow33: I’ve had that thought cross my mind so many times during this thing. How is it that so many high priced lawyers can be so stupid?

    • tbearscreamery - Nov 19, 2012 at 8:38 PM

      Ya great job Gary. Lets all stand in line to pay to watch a game between Columbus and Florida! Pick lousy cities and then claim they can’t make a profit. Great idea take money from teams making money to pay for teams that will never make money. Ya lets give Nashville cash to sign top defence subsidized by other teams. Now lets sign huge salaries to free agents and proclaim 60 days later we don’t have any money. Great job Gary!

  2. mrchainbluelightning - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Still waiting and hoping for that one crazed fan or player to step up.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      step up and do what?
      are you calling for a Bettman assassination? f!@# civility right?


      • mrchainbluelightning - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:24 PM


      • mrchainbluelightning - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:33 PM

        Oh ya, more civility flying out the window

    • ron05342 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      Chris Chelios, is that you?

    • kitshky - Nov 17, 2012 at 2:24 AM


      I know you’re just making a crack … but that was way over the line.

      • mrchainbluelightning - Nov 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        So Kitshky, I can count you out too? Bummer

  3. bcsteele - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    They better have a season this year or I’m done. Bunch of children fighting over a bowl of candy.

    • ibieiniid - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:45 PM

      prepare to be done

    • mrchainbluelightning - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      Cya next year when you’re back

  4. jkline3 - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Jobs increased by 25% and salaries by 400% during his “reign”. Any president who presided over those kind of numbers would be elected for life. Hasn’t ANYONE learned from Dan Ellis?

    • doubles22 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:35 PM

      Salaries increasing “by 400%” has a lot more to do with being a professional athlete in this era than from any stroke of genius on the part of the commissioner. Fact of the matter is that this is the third lockout that has Bettman’s grubby little fingerprints all over it. I believe there’s culpability on both sides here, but Bettman is the common denominator to all labor strife in recent history.

      • jkline3 - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        Yes and no – there has been a lot of fresh cash injected into the pool through expansion, endorsements and television deals. If that money was just falling into the league’s lap they wouldn’t be paying Bettman $7 mil. Think we would have seen the Winter Classic, 24/7, NHL Premiere 20 years ago?

        Bettman is an inherently unlikeable guy (can’t believe I’m defending? him) but it has less to do with him being a puppet master that is somehow directing the owners to follow his bidding than the state of professional sports. You knew this day was coming the second the NBA reached a labor deal, especially considering the link between the NBA and NHL through owners and league administration. No way the #4 sport gives a better deal than #3. Reality is that the NBA set the bar and the lockout will continue until the players realize that. Question is how much goodwill towards the sport will be burned and how much money will be left on the table before that happens.

    • hockinj25 - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      But what if that president shut down the country 3 times during his reign.

  5. jimw81 - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Actually Ian white does have a point. What has Bettman accomplish in NHL besides scoring a hat trick of lockouts?I can’t name on good thing he done for NHL except expanding to cities that isn’t a hockey market.

    • jimw81 - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      He was over the line calling him a idiot

    • ibieiniid - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      and i have a feeling that since you said the only good thing he’s done was a bad thing, you only know of one thing he’s done.

    • imleftcoast - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      No other professional sport has lost a full season. Is this seriously a debate? Bettman is a disaster for hockey.

      • somekat - Nov 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        Yeah, because taht No-WS season in baseball really counts as playing the season. Because baseball is all about what happens in April

        Who ran the MLBPA then?

  6. hanisflyingsolo - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Seriously both sides are f’ing idiots and destroying the game. They need to get in a god damn room and get a deal done I’m tired of hearing this petty fifth grade bs. I WANT SOME MOTHER F’ING HOCKEY!

    • islesjb - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:02 PM

      Seriously. One of the worst parts about this lockout, aside from the fact that the season should have been a month and a half in and I could be watching the Islanders on an 5 game November losing streak, is the fact that I come to this site day after day in hopes of some good news, only to receive another dose of anger and frustration.
      Is it pathetic and sad? Probably. Regardless, I’ll continue to do it day after day until the entire season is cancelled.I’ll continue to read story after story about these stubborn, fickle children bickering back and forth and get madder and madder until the 2012-13 season is no more. Why? Fk if I know. I guess I like the abuse.

      • vanchuk - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:12 PM

        “I guess I like the abuse.” — Isn’t that why you’re still an Islanders fan??

        It’s gotta be why I’m a Canucks fan….and a Minnesota Vikings fan…and why i keep coming back to PHT everyday hoping for a glimmer of hope.

        We’re all gluttons for punishment as much as we are hockey fans

  7. thegrenade - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    I wouldn’t say he is an idiot. Shrewd, slimy and heartless is what I would say. Expansions meant more teams and more jobs in the NHL for a lot of people. Some of the markets could have been better selected, but some of those markets were good choices.

    The NHL is being foolish by letting another season hang in the balance. If the season is shot, it may take a decade for the product to fully recover.

    The diehards will always be there, but the fans that were just starting to fall for the game may never come back.

    By the way, Gary lives in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, if anyone’s interested in tea time with the Bettmans. I bet he gets booed even when he enters his own home.

    • jimw81 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I think diehards are starting to walk away in the real hockey towns.

    • jkline3 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      I don’t like MY boss. He’s shrewd, slimy and heartless. However, part of the reason that I have a job is due to his shrewdness, sliminess and heartlessness… There’s something to that “inmates running the asylum” saying. It’s very easy to dislike Bettman, however there’s a lot more green (and blue, purple, red and brown for our friends up North) to be divvied up for everyone than there was 20 years ago.

  8. fusionix7 - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Ian White is saying what the rest of us are thinking. The vast majority of players and fans have zero respect for the guy. Suggesting two weeks of no negotiating while the season is in balance? That does not sound like a leader to me. Get a mediator already, and get this season going.

  9. pastabelly - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    If this weren’t the third time we’ve been through this with the same commissioner, then maybe I’d say he weren’t an idiot. But why would anyone even think it won’t happen next time too? Does anyone have any faith that this guy really wants to get deals done? This is a great sport and you have to wonder if it’s just business to this guy. When Stern retires, does anyone believe that the NBA would even take him back?

  10. eyeh8goodell - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    I wonder how many of these hockey fans that are in Gary’s corner are the same ones that boo him every year whenever he shows his face. Gary has made exactly one shrewd move during his tenure, and that was giving the finger to ESPN and going a different route to the far better TV deal they have now. Aside from that, this lockout is about placing the burden at the players’ feet for failed NHL business models and strategies. Largely failed expansions into no-traditional markets (the disaster in Phoenix), poorly devised CBA where owners (supposedly shrewd business men) can’t trust themselves not to take advantage of every loophole of their own creation at the expense of the overall health of the league. And so they attempt to place the financial burden on the players to cover their own asses for their own mistakes. Remember, this is exactly the system the owners wanted, received, and then gloated about after they got it.

    People come for the players. All of you deciding (wrongly) to hate the players, remember that next time you’re tempted to stand up and cheer at a game when the players on the ice score a goal or win. Remember what you said about them. And when your team succeeds (because of the efforts of the players), you don’t get to take part in the celebration. It would be wildly hypocritical of you to cheer players that were the subject of your scorn.

    • somekat - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

      The whole “the nhl wants the players to pay for their mistakes” argument is at best, idiotic. The players get paid a percentage of the league’s income. NOT THE AMOUNT ON THEIR CONTRACTS. The players ALREADY PAY FOR THE LEAGUES BAD INVESTMENTS. I don’t comprehend what is so hard to understand about that.

      What it comes down to is simple. The players get 57% in the old CBA. The next highest paid athletes in the world, the NBA, get 50%. Please explain 1 single reason that NHL players should get 7% more of the league income (or a 14% salary increase) over the next highest paid athletes in the world (The NBA is also much more marketed to the player and not the team)

      For the record, when my TEAM scores, I cheer. I don’t cheer for specific players, and what I think of them personally now isn’t going to change anything. I don’t cheer for them to be nice guys, or have an inkling of business sense. I cheer for them to win hockey games for my team

      • brianbobal - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:32 AM

        thats well said! i just want hockey, is that so hard to ask for?

  11. furkmyster - Nov 16, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    I wonder if the genius making this comment realizes he might not have a job in a 21 team NHL? Without the expansion and teams in markets that can’t support them, is Ian White even good enough to make the league?

  12. bbk1000 - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Bettman is an idiot…..Who’s the worst GM in sports? I’m thinking Bettman, Selig, Goodell and then Stern, but it’s too close to call..

    • imleftcoast - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

      Stern helped Clay Bennett steal the Sonics. I’ve got him tied with Bettman. Selig is close behind though, MLB is just not entertaining – not even the World Series.

      Football is the only thing keeping me sane with no hockey.

    • somekat - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      None of those guys are GM’s, a commissioner is not a GM, clown

      All of them are the worst huh? Bias towards unions much

      • bbk1000 - Nov 18, 2012 at 9:20 AM

        It was a slip, it happens avery now and again. Only a dope would point it out thinking that is what I meant.

        Actually 99% of the time I am for the owners…but they have been going over the top a bit.

  13. ewoods6 - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Worst part is we have to wait until 2015 to get Bettman out of there. How does a guy get a contract from 94-2015 with 3 lockouts in his tenure and the first one was only 1 year into his term???

    The position of the Presidency of the United States has more checks and balences on it than the position of commissioner for any major sport. It blows my mind.

    • somekat - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      Because he works for the owners, and does what they want him to do. People who keep blaming Bettman amaze me. You said if yourself, he’s been there since 94. If he wasn’t doing exactly what the owners wanted him to do, why would he still be there?

      The position of Presidency lost most of it’s checks and balances when the President just decided to start making major changes by “executive order” and Harry Reid squashes any votes to make changes to the system

  14. leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Childish? Perhaps. But he ain’t wrong.

  15. stublito - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    The NHL is done. It’s the end of an era.

    The owners driving the “negotiations” are the same types that run private equity funds. We deal with them every day at the Union; private equity owns all the major hotels (as real estate investments). The only way we were able to “negotiate” with them this year was to prove to them that we could cost them more by messing with their IPOs than it would cost them to pay our workers a living wage. The NHL owners are convinced that, long term, they hold all the cards because they own the NHL brand. They are right.

    They have HUGE egos. They hate the union because it diminishes their authority. These are the people running the game we love and influencing the economies of major cities. They own the NHL brand, but that’s the ONLY thing they really own. I say let them have it and walk away.

    They will not change, even after this round they will keep at it til they have it all. That is why they are so rich, they want it that bad. So hockey will have to change. A new league with a different ownership model. Perhaps like the Green Bay Packers, they are community owned (co-op).

    Start in Canada. A new Canadian league. Disband the NHLPA. Legislate the Stanley Cup away from the old NHL. Eventually, have Canada, US, Russian and European teams competing of the World Cup of Hockey, Lord Stanley’s trophy.

    The tide has turned here in the US, almost suddenly. A majority of citizens finally understand that Republicans despise them, and want to steal from them. So now the revolution is here: Tax the rich. Stop spending stupid money on the military. Give everyone health insurance. Ignore big money political advertising. Pot is well on its way to being decriminalized.

    This is a revolutionary repudiation of the Republican ethos.

    Time for hockey to join the revolution.

    • somekat - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:57 AM

      another clown who wants to compare his hourly job to an NHL player

      the players get paid a percentage of league income, and the situation could not be more different

      Go back to your socialism class

  16. joeyashwi - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Lockout = owners’ fault
    Strike = Players’ fault

    Three consecutive lockouts = Bettman’s fault. It really is that simple. Yes Fehr is being belligerent but he wasn’t here the last two lockouts. What’s the only constant? I don’t give a crap if Bettman has a law degree, he obviously doesn’t have a hockey degree. To say he has done so much good for the game, as some posters say, is ridiculous. I used to be able to watch hockey almost every night on ESPN before Bettman alienated the league from the #1 sports network. He finally gets a good network (NBC Sports) and instead of riding momentum, he decides to lock the players out. Don’t hate the players for not caving in, they would rather be playing. The players have asked for nothing! They were locked out!

  17. sabatimus - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    I don’t think Bettman or Fehr are idiots. They just care about what’s in it for them as opposed to the welfare of the sport and what the fans want. Not idiots, just selfish greedy jackasses who know exactly what they’re doing.

  18. blkhwk21 - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Blah Blah Blah, blame Bettman, Blame Fuhr. These men are taking the blame for everyone. It’s not Bettman- it’s the owners- the ones we pay!! Bettman is the frontman they hired and stand behind. So in my city- Roco Wirtz- your the idiot. Until the owners stand up to him- they are standing behind him. And until the players stand up to Fuhr – they stand behind him. Your all idiots for not standing up and getting this resolved. NHL is a joke right now

  19. id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    C’mon. If you re a player who signed for 2.5m per year and scored 5 goals last year, would you call Bettman an idiot? Not me.

  20. id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Nov 15, 2012, 6:22 PM EST
    Alright NHLPA, your move. How much longer will it take before you crawl back to the negotiation table? Take the hit. What are your options? You play hockey for a living, and though many of you are very marginal players you are paid in excess of 2m per year. Not bad. Right? It’s NHL or what?

  21. id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    The players are demonstrating a severe lack of business acumen here for not assessing the situation accurately. They have no leverage at all and yet they persist. The sooner they give in the less money they lose and the sooner we get hockey. Elementary.

  22. cspsrbums - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    I would also like to see a new league started

  23. cspsrbums - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Maybe someone who is running the charity game for Sandy victims can get a new league rolling. and dump the NHL

  24. westof1club - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:24 PM


    Kudos. You are the man.

  25. joejacks - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    White is only saying what most fans think as well. Bettman is an idiot and is ruining the game. I bet he is getting kickbacks from his ol NBA for ruining the game.

  26. joejacks - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Stublito you are 100% correct!! Total Revolution is here. Let the bodies hit the floor!!!

  27. habsman - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Looks like White tried to cash his pay cheque today.

  28. id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    If you think the NHL will fold, you’re seriously out of touch with reality. Crazy! The players will be crawling back very very soon, and eating out if the hand that will feed them for the next 7 or 8 years. The next deal will go beyond 5 years to make sure no issues can interfere with the NHL’s 100 years of existence.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      You probably thought RMoney and Count Dracula Ryan were a sure thing, too.

      • id4joey - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

        What the f ck are you talking about a hole. I couldn’t care less about who the F is Pres and VP OF the US. I don’t live in the US and don’t give a crap. WTF does youn post have to do with hockey?

  29. ndrick731 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    All you bettman defenders might want to explain exactly what the little turd has done that anybody else wouldn’t have been able to do in the rapidly expanding world of cable TV. If the toy slimeball is doing such a wonderful job why are all these teams losing all this money. Why is he trying to force a team to stay in Phoenix, a place that has made it obvious that they don’t want a team and a fan base that is totally apathetic. Same thing goes for Tampa Bay and Florida franchises. Bettman has done all he can to keep teams out of Canadian markets that would support them. And I live in Pennsylvania so I’m not a Canadian looking to get a team in my city. All the while ticket prices go up every year.

    • id4joey - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      What has Bettman done you ask? Look at the contracts being signed. Do you guys know how to count?

  30. cspsrbums - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Id4 leave people alone on here you are a. Hole you keep taking the owners side and have been saying the players will be crawling back before Thanksgiving you are just pissed they are proving you wrong You where clotting like you new something when the two side got togetherness last week or so trying to tell everyone you called it when you thought they were going to settle. You don’t know jack Sh.. Now go away you dumb MF god your dirt bag get a life.

    • id4joey - Nov 17, 2012 at 6:54 AM

      csprsbums. LOL! This post is just for you,
      id4joey Nov 15, 2012, 6:22 PM EST
      Alright NHLPA, your move. How much longer will it take before you crawl back to the negotiation table? Take the hit. What are your options? You play hockey for a living, and though many of you are very marginal players you are paid in excess of 2m per year. Not bad. Right? It’s NHL or what?

      Oh! BTW, the NHL will not fold.

    • id4joey - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      There will be hockey this year. No doubt about it. The players can’t afford losing 100% of their salary. I’ve been clotting….. WTF does that mean….

    • somekat - Nov 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      That has to be the longest run on sentence in the history of idiot rants

  31. acieu - Nov 17, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    I suppose this simpleton’s mother was unable to get the message across that you never have to worry about apologizing for dumb remarks if they are not uttered.

  32. bills4 - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    It is getting easier and easier to side with the NHL and its owners. Thanks for pushing me a little further away Ian ” the brain” White.

  33. antkowiak666 - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Ian,sshhhhh…..silence is golden.

  34. sampulls - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM


    What has Betman done?

    Name the only two professional sports in North America that have seen revenues increase since the beginning of the global recession 2007).
    That’s right…..NHL!

  35. bleed4philly - Nov 17, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Bettman is an idiot. Bad tv deal, broke franchises in bad places, no laws set in place for owner accountability giving out stupid contracts, fire this clown immediately.

    • somekat - Nov 17, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      The current TV deal is MUCH better than what ESPN was offering, so you are dead wrong there.

      There are no “laws” in place for “owner accountability” in any league, why would the nhl?

      The Royals, and the Rays have no fans. Jacksonville and Minny are fighting blackouts every week. Sac town and Charlotte in the NBA are jokes. So why is bettman “an idiot” for having the same issues as every other professional sports league?

  36. cspsrbums - Nov 17, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Read the next article sounds like the owners R starting to collapse.

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