Listening to ESPN Radio on the way home last night, and the host asked an interesting question: Which of the four major league commissioners would you least want to be? In other words, of the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB, which would you NOT want to be the commissioner?
An interesting question, seeing as all four leagues have serious issues right now. The NFL can't keep its players out of trouble off the field. Plus, there's the whole issue of how it is (or is not) taking care of retired players. The NBA also has off-the-court issues with players. And, it has some on-court isues with hot-tempered players and now a referee who's accused of fixing games. Dwindling TV audiences are also an issue. Baseball has steroids and Barry Bonds and a commissioner who's not committing to being in attendance when Bonds "breaks" Hank Aaron's record. As for the NHL, its biggest problem seems to be finding a way to make more people care about the sport. Basically, it needs a star. Sidney Crosby would be the logical choice, but he hasn't broken through in the same way as Gretzky or even Mario Lemieux.
So, if I had to be the commissioner of one of these sports, which one would I not want it to be? I think I would NOT want to be the commissioner of the NHL because of all the problems in all the sports, apathy is the most difficult to overcome. Discipline can be handed out, negotiations can be conducted, the legal system can take its course. But, when you're faced with the prospect of trying to make people care, that is a very difficult task.