Friday, March 11, 2011

Citing Corporate Social Responsibility, Air CanadaThreatens to Pull NHL Endorsement

In a National Hockey League game, Boston Bruin player Zedeno Chara delivered a check on Montreal Canadien player Max Pacioretty.  The incident is shown in the video below.  Pacioretty was seriously injured.  Chara received a major penalty but no fine or suspension from the league.  Citing "Corporate Social Responsibility," Air Canada, a major sponsor of the NHL issued the following letter to the NHL:

We are contacting you to voice our concern over [the] incident involving Max Pacioretty and Zdeno Chara at the Bell Centre in Montreal. This is following several other incidents involving career-threatening and life-threatening headshots in the NHL recently. From a corporate social responsibility standpoint, it is becoming increasingly difficult to associate our brand with sports events which could lead to serious and irresponsible accidents; action must be taken by the NHL before we are encountered with a fatality. Unless the NHL takes immediate action with serious suspension to the players in question to curtail these life-threatening injuries, Air Canada will withdraw its sponsorship of hockey.

This incident is arguably distinguishable from the Todd Bertuzzi incident. The following video raises an issue regarding consent in a civil battery claim. How much physical contact do you consent to when you lace up the skates? Or, as in the clip further below, you step on the soccer field? At what point does the physical contact go beyond that to which consent may be presumed?

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