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After A Vicious Hit, The NHL Shows The NFL How To Handle Player Safety

Roger Goodell could learn a thing or two from the National Hockey League.

During Tuesday night’s Washington-Philadelphia game, Capitals’ right winger Tom Wilson laid a powerful hit on Flyers’ forward Brayden Schenn.

Wilson was booked for charging and ejected for game misconduct, and as you can see from the replay, the check launched Schenn headfirst into the boards.

Schenn couldn’t even skate to the bench on his own power afterward. Naturally, there was an immediate backlash against Wilson, with many believing it was a cheap shot and that the league would hand down a suspension.

But yesterday, SVP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan explained that no supplemental discipline would be assessed to Tom Wilson. He indicated that “although the end result is a violent collision with the boards… the video evidence shows that, having just looked at Wilson, Schenn begins to turn his back in an effort to avoid the contact, which actually contributes to making this hit worse.”

Shanahan then broke down the video footage to further explain the league’s decision and why Wilson’s hit, while violent, does not merit any added discipline. Shanahan’s clear and meticulous explanation lets fans understand the reasons behind the NHL’s decision. It’s one step closer to transparency, which is exactly what professional sports needs. Other leagues should follow the NHL’s lead.

6. The hit:

7. The explanation:

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