(Excerpts of dialogues with Alan Shore (casted by James Spader) taken from the television series “The Practice - Comings and Goings (Season 8, Episode 20))
(Conference Room at Crane Poole & Schmidt)
District Attorney: It was an assault. The fact that it took place during a professional hockey game doesn’t meanthis guy . . .
Hannah Rose: Oh, come on, Jeffrey. You have 4,000 reported assaults every year—less than half lead to charges.
District Attorney: Hannah, if you were still here, you’d prosecute.
Hannah Rose: I certainly would not.
District Attorney: He repeatedly punched a defenseless man. He doesn’t get some special exemption because he did it during a sporting event.
Alan Shore: That’s just simply not true. We grant such exemptions all the time.
Hannah Rose: Excuse me a minute.
(Soto voce to Alan Shore) New guy?
Alan Shore: It would be illegal to run somebody down and flatten ‘em, yet in football? Boxers try to knock each other unconscious—the actual intent of the sport is assault. Imagine throwing a hard object a hundred miles per hour at somebody’s head. That’s grounds for attempted murder. But if the victim crowds the plate? Fighting is part of hockey.
(to Hannah Rose) May I speak for a second?
District Attorney: You are speaking.
Alan Shore: Oh. Sometimes I become so rapt with my own words, it feels more like a listening experience. Look, we’re gathered here today because of the media. I suspect if the firestorm died down, so would your urge to be Javert. Suppose this man were severely punished by the League? How ‘bout we get our justice that way?
District Attorney: First of all, I’m not the commissioner of the league.
Alan Shore: I’m offering you the chance to be. Name your punishment. Name it.
District Attorney: Out of the play-offs. And the next two years.
Alan Shore: Done.
District Attorney: Done? How are you . . .
Alan Shore: I’ll meet with the commissioner. My client will be suspended for two full seasons, plus play-offs.
District Attorney: (Chuckles) I hate to break your momentum, but the player’s union will never let . . .
Alan Shore: Yes, they will.
District Attorney: Because you say so?
Alan Shore: Because I say so. Congratulations, Mr. District Attorney. You’ve just helped to change hockey for the better. By the way, I may need to invoke the power of your office a little. Not to worry.
(Nods, and then gathers up his papers)
(Conference Room at Crane Poole & Schmidt)
Hockey League Commissioner Burke: There is no precedent for a two-year suspension. And even if I were to sanction that, I can assure you, the player’s union wouldn’t. If you only knew . .
Alan Shore: What would they do? Pull your jersey over your head and pummel you?
Burke: Mr. Shore, the idea of . . .
Alan Shore: Mr. Burke. You will suspend Mr. Sears for two years. In consideration for that . . . Forgive me, I’m parched.
(Takes a sip of water from his glass)
In consideration for that, I’ve worked it out with the D.A. for the League not to be criminally prosecuted.
Burke: The League? How are we liable for that . . .
Alan Shore: Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 274, Section 2, Aiding and Abetting. “Anyone who assists, encourages or promotes an assault can be charged as a principal.”
Burke: We don’t do that.
Alan Shore: You don’t do that? (Smiles knowingly)
Burke: No, we don’t.
Alan Shore: In your highlight videos, you show the brawls. You also show them on the big jumbo Trons between periods. A Gordie Howe hat trick is considered to be a goal, an assist and a fight.
Burke: We penalize fighting.
Alan Shore: But you don’t ban it. Every other professional sport does. If a player fights in football or baseball, he’s gone. In your sport, he gets a standing ovation.
Burke: Mr. Shore, I’m sure you’re a fine attorney, but you have no appreciation for what hockey is, its history, its tradition . . .
Alan Shore: I have enormous appreciation for your sport, Mr. Burke. In fact, I have season tickets. Hockey is Bobby Orr. Hockey is Bobby Hull; Stan Mikita; Wayne Gretzky. Hockey is speed, finesse, skill and power. None of which has anything to do with mayhem. Hockey is being debased with thuggery, that your league not only condones, but encourages.
Burke: And you think if we just change the rule, it will stop?
Alan Shore: Yes. In college hockey, it’s banned. The players don’t fight. In the Olympics, it’s banned. They don’t fight. It can absolutely be legislated out. You choose not to do so. And with all the vicious muggings happening on the ice today, you are daring a district attorney to prosecute the League. I have that district attorney, Mr. Burke. Mr. Sears will be suspended for two years. You need to have appreciation for your sport, Mr. Burke. We need your league to rise up and mirror the dignity of the game itself. Tell your players, “No more fighting.” And if they still insist on violence, lt them beat up their coaches, like the basketball players.