Many speculated he would, and now he has: Boston Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton went public today with his intentions to appeal the 15-game suspension he received on Saturday for the slew-foot and sucker-punches he landed against Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Brooks Orpik on December 7th.
Thornton’s decision to appeal has created controversy on Twitter, with many tweeters conveying a belief that to appeal is to omit guilt. Others have defended the Bruins pugilist, stating his decision to appeal doesn’t necessarily infer a lack of guilt. Furthermore, Thornton stands to forfeit $80,000 in salary over the course of his 15-game suspension, and that in itself is reason enough to pursue an appeal that may lessen financial ramifications. FOX Sports Live asked the fans what they thought about Shawn Thornton’s decision to appeal, and as you can see in the tweets below, many do not agree:
Shawn Thornton will reportedly appeal his 15 game suspension for his attack on Brooks Orpik. As fans, do you think that's the right move?
— FOX Sports Live (@FOXSportsLive) December 16, 2013
@FOXSportsLive What he did was dirty and classless. I'd give him more than 15 games. Not less.
— Brian Tenerowicz (@BrianTenerowicz) December 16, 2013
@FOXSportsLive No but why crucify him for it? He's allowed to so let him. He's not going to win the appeal anyways.
— Long Island's Capo (@JeffreyKleiman) December 16, 2013
Thornton begins his appeal process by meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (time and date unknown at this point). If the commish decides to hold firm on the league’s decision, Thornton will then be permitted to plead his case to a third-party arbitrator, at which point, there is a possibility for a reduction in suspension length. However, the entire appeals process – which was implemented in January of 2013 as part of the newest CBA – has never been practiced before by any one of the more than thirty NHL players to incur suspension over the last eleven months. So, Thornton’s case is uncharted territory.