Todd Bertuzzi's Tearful Confession: The Passion of the Christ Made Me Do It!
Above: The Passion of the (Vancouver) Canuck
VANCOUVER, BC (SP) — It remains to be seen whether Vancouver Canucks Forward Todd Bertuzzi will be criminally charged for his devastating hit from behind on Colorado's Steve Moore, but in any event, it may be appropriate to characterize the incident as a crime of 'passion'.
Lost in the avalanche of media coverage surrounding the hit, which resulted in two broken vertebrae in Moore's neck, was any serious attempt to determine why it occurred. Most people assumed that Bertuzzi was simply following the NHL's unofficial code of vigilante justice, whereby Moore was to be punished for giving Canuck Captain Marcus Naslund a concussion in a previous encounter. However, upon closer scrutiny, it appears that Bertuzzi may have been inspired by the unrelenting display of violence that he witnessed at a recent screening of the Mel Gibson Biblical blockbuster, The Passion of the Christ.
Above: Bertuzzi accosted Moore like a man possessed and hell bent on revenge
Mere hours before the fateful hit, Bertuzzi and a dozen of his teammates attended a matinee screening of the film, which has been widely criticized for containing an extreme level of graphic, gratuitous violence. A source on the team who asked to be identified only by the name "Jude", told Satiric Press that immediately after the film, Bertuzzi and his 12 teammates went for supper, where he began reciting passages from the Bible chapter and verse, including the following excerpt from Ezekiel 25:17:
"And I will strike down with great vengeance and furious anger upon those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know that my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."
Bertuzzi's teammates denied that the hit was prompted by the film, and preferred to speak about Bertuzzi's contributions to the community and lack of a disciplinary record prior to this incident. Naslund described Bertuzzi as a born leader who was always prepared to 'sacrifice the body' in order to make a play or block a shot. "He talked about taking us to the promised land in order to earn the privilege of drinking from the Cup," said Naslund.
Above: The Stanley Cup has been described as the Holy Grail of sports trophies
While the Canucks did not attempt to defend the hit on Moore, they all insisted that it was not a true reflection of Bertuzzi's character. "Bert is one of the league's premier power forwards, and he doesn't need to resort to cheap shots," said Canucks Defenceman Ed Jovanovski. "Occassionally he'll get a bit careless with the stick, carving guys up and seeming like more of a carpenter than a hockey player, but it's never intentional."
Canucks General Manager Brian Burke was highly critical of the way Bertuzzi has been crucified by the media after the hit on Moore. He added that with Bertuzzi suspended for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, it seemed unlikely that the hockey gods would smile down upon the Canucks this Spring.
The incident has renewed the age-old debate regarding whether there's a place for fighting in Christianity. "I think it's unacceptable and completely out of control," said shock rocker Marilyn Manson. "Just look at the amount of bloodshed that has occurred as a result of conflicts between Christians and followers of other religions, or between different sects of the Christian faith. My music has often been blamed for inciting violence, but can it really compare to the havoc wreaked by religious fundamentalists? Who's more accountable for the attacks on the World Trade Centre, or the commuter train bombings in Madrid?"
Above: Fighting in Christianity threatens the very moral fabric of our society, says Marilyn Manson
In Manson's view, if any kind of music has led to an increased level of violence in society, it's religious-themed music, which can so easily be subverted by religious zealots and extremists. "Christian rock groups such as Creed pose a much greater threat to society than I ever will," said Manson. "In these volatile times that we live in, I shudder to think what might happen if Genesis were to get back together."
Manson believes that the Pope needs to do more to denounce and discourage fighting in Christianity, as depicted in such films as The Passion of the Christ and Sister Act. "I would ask whether someone has to die before the problem will be addressed, but we all know the answer to that one," he said.
As for the Bertuzzi incident, Manson regards it as "just another black eye for Christianity."
Above: Does the H. in Jesus H. Christ stand for Hockey?