Work in Sports
Speaking on his behalf
One of McSorley's attorneys comments after the trial
Paul Kelly, one of the attorneys representing Marty McSorley during his trial for assault with a weapon charge, spoke on behalf of his client after McSorley was found guilty and sentenced to 18 months of conditional discharge. His comments to the media are excerpted below:
"I just want to make a couple of comments on behalf of Mr. McSorley. He wanted me to relay to you that he is extremely disappointed with the finding of guilt, and how it was arrived at. He is very pleased, however, that the judge saw fit to be compassionate and to grant him a conditional discharge.
At this point, Marty and his lawyers are going to very carefully evaluate the decision which has been rendered here today, and very seriously consider taking an appeal. It is unlikely that this proceeding has reached a conclusion. For that reason, Marty is going to be unable to say anything for fear that it may compromise an appeal that he may take.
So I just want to reiterate that it's his position that he is extremely disappointed. He does believe that the trial was fairly conducted here in Vancouver, but he is quite concerned about the result. He is happy that he is not going to be convicted, and he has no conviction as we stand here today, but at this point, it is his intention to appeal."
Does he plan to apply for reinstatement as a player?
Marty, currently, as you know, has been suspended by the NHL. It was 23 games, and he has to meet with the commissioner in order to be reinstated. It is Marty's intention to meet with the commissioner sometime in the next several weeks and seek reinstatement.
Has there been an offer from the Boston Bruins?
Not to my knowledge.
He didn't seem to apologize at all.
Anyone that saw Marty's comments immediately after the game knows Marty apologized at the time that it counted most. Obviously Marty feels very badly about the injury to Mr. (Donald) Brashear. He does hope to reach out to Donald Brashear and speak with him. He's gratified that Donald is back to playing again. Marty is very remorseful.
What would be the grounds for an appeal?
What I said was that Marty is very seriously considering taking an appeal. He has been found guilty, but a conditional discharge means that there is no conviction. If someone asks him the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" the answer is no. He is not convicted. That conditional discharge remains for 18 months, and at the end of the 18 months it's an absolute discharge. What that means is that for 18 months he effectively just has to keep clean. He can't be convicted of any other criminal offenses either in Canada, the United States or elsewhere. No problems crossing the border. No criminal record. It's a finding of guilt but no criminal conviction. That is the case as we stand here right this moment.
It's too early to speculate on what grounds we may see for an appeal. I think we need to study the judge's findings. Obviously appeals based upon factual findings are difficult, but Marty, together with his lawyers, will carefully review it.
What did you make of him saying to Marty McSorley that you have influence in this game to change the rules?
I think he was saying to Marty, "Look, you've been in the game for 17 years. You've been an ambassador for the sport. You are a person who the players and the coaches respect." I just want to say this one thing. Anybody that knows Marty and has followed his career knows that this momentary event does not define Marty McSorley. Marty McSorley has been a great ambassador for hockey both on the ice and off the ice. He's been a tremendous contributor to his communities whether it was in Edmonton, Los Angeles or elsewhere. He is one of the more out-going, sincere individuals that you will ever meet in any professional sport, and it would be really unfortunate if Marty is to be remembered just for something that happened in a split second.
What's next for McSorley?
That really depends. He's a free agent at the present time. He hasn't been signed. I think if the right offer and the right opportunity arose, Marty is in excellent shape. He has had surgery on his shoulder and rehabbed his shoulder, and I think he could play.