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Labor is getting crushed these days.  Minimum wage is too low almost everywhere.  Union membership is down.  Anti-union legislation has been passed in many states.  Scott Walker's recall victory hurt everyone in the western world, not just Americans.  After walker's win, here in Canada, we were treated to a wave of op-eds along the lines of "We need Scott Walker here"

I'm a huge proponent of unions.  But just because a group has the word "union" attached to their name, does not mean that we should automatically support them.

Hockey players collect 57% of league revenue.  NBA players take 50%,  baseball players take 45% and NFL players take 47%.  Because hockey is a smaller market than the other major sports, the overhead costs as a percentage of total revenue is also much higher.  It's proportionally a lot more expensive to operate an NHL franchise.

Many NHL franchises are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.  The Phoenix Coyotes have been bankrupt for 3 years.  Atlanta lost their franchise for financial reasons last year.  There are at least 5 or 6 teams in serious danger of going under.

In the past 6 years, the average NHL salary has increased from $1.6 million to $2.4 million, a 50% increase.  In case you think that the people on the bottom are getting screwed, the minimum NHL salary is $525,000.

Let's not forget that the NHL players union is represented by one Donald Fehr:  the man who single-handedly ruined baseball.  (I'm a very bitter Expos fan).

I'm not saying that the owners are blameless in this, but the NHL players had a terrific deal prior to the lockout even though they fought against it tooth and nail.

There are plenty of labor unions that are under attack right now.  Let's save our support, energy and political capital for people who actually need our help.

10:14 PM PT: Wow- that's a lot of negative reaction.  I appreciate the feedback and a lot of you made good points.  I was responding to what I thought was a one-sided article on the main page.  I think there is a legitimate debate as to whether sports unions really represent unions well.  People use the word "union" in a very negative way when these labor disputes happen and I think that hurts our cause. That whole business with the NFL decertifying doesn't help us. Please don't attack my motives.  We can disagree and still be on the same side.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree here..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb, PeteZerria

    it's like watching the top .3 percent of the top 1 percent having a battle with each other over the billions of dollars that pour into the sport every year.  Both sides are too overwhelmed with greed.  About the only thing that can concern me here is the safety and long-term health effects of the players.  

    So with that, I like watching hockey every now and then, but if somehow NHL were to vanish tomorrow, my world would just go on fine.

    •  It helps to understand that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, ardyess

      these players have a very short playing career.  Yeah, they make a lot while they're playing...but that might only be for a few years.  Some might go on to something else lucrative, but a lot of them are only going to be 1%-ers for a few years.  

      •  Yes, I agree that careers are quite short lived (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for the players, but with the $$$$ they are earning, they can hopefully make some conservative yet meaningful investments that can give them security for the rest of their lives.  It may not give them life styles of the rich and famous, but it will give them financial security that most of the rest of us would be grateful to have.  

  •  Disagree (37+ / 0-)

    Unionized workers, no matter what their occupation or their salary, need to be supported. As a hockey fan I have followed the details of this CBA, and the details of what came before. The owners have nobody but themselves, and the GM's they hired, to blame for increases in player salaries and their current economic dilemmas. The league is at fault for putting teams in inappropriate markets- Phoenix is NOT a natural market for a hockey team.

    Punishing the players, all of whom have dedicated years of their life for what are generally relatively short careers, for the excesses of the league's 1% is foolish and not in alignment with progressive principles.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:10:36 PM PST

    •  This. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have been making all of these arguments to anyone who suggests this is somehow the players' fault, or that they are equally to blame for the mess the NHL is in.

      Another factor not much talked about is the dilution of the talent pool in the NHL, every time a new team is added to the league. It's no wonder there are some teams that just never seem to win. They can't compete with players, that in a properly-sized league, should be playing in the minors. And losing teams lose money.

      Gary Bettman should be tarred and feathered, and driven out of the league.

      [-5.38,-6.77]"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."-Plato

      by mamamarti on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:38:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wave it wide and high! (on the front page of kos) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      US Blues

      Wave that flag, pop the bag, skin the goat, learn to cope
      Bell the rat, trap the cat, ball the jack, chew the fat
      Read the signs, connect the lines, pay your fines, save your dimes
      Pick up time, light the fuse, making time, pass the juice
      Eat at days, hide in caves, pull the tooth, stretch the truth
      Feed the poor, starve the war, pick up chicks, catch the fix
      Get your kicks, pick up sticks, trim your wick, take your pick
      Try your tricks, impress the chicks
      Wash the fence, dig the den, live the vain, die in shame
      Catch the fool, burn the stew, shine your shoes, sing the blues
      Wave the flag, pop the bag, bell the cat, trap the rat
      Ball the jack, chew the fat, shoot the breeze, lose the keys
      Read the signs, connect the lines, pay your fines, read the rhyme
      Shhot the breeze, lose your keys, don't be late, what I say
      Stretch the truth, pull the tooth, feed the poor, starve the war
      Cash the fix, get your kicks, trim your wick, take your pick
      Try your tricks, impress the chicks
      Wash the fence, dig the den, live the shame,die in vain
      Catch the fool, burn the stew, shine your shoes, sing the blues

      Summetime's done come and oh my!!

      Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. Tear Ayn, the GOP, and Fox News new orifices; laugh and enjoy. @floydbluealdus1

      by Floyd Blue on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:52:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks Floyd (0+ / 0-)

        Not often that folks on Kos have insight into such esoterica, this made my morning and put a big smile on my face.

        "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

        by US Blues on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:28:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am so glad I could do that with such a simple... (0+ / 0-)

          ....action.  (I always seem to have that line "summertime's done come and gone, my oh my").  for some reason that line is very powerful for me, the way they sing it.  I love the song US Blues.  it is so full (actually so many Hunter lyrics are, as you know) of Americana and cultural actually influenced my novel, quite a bit....that, and Tom Wolfe, with his Americana references.

          (I was a bit hesitant, because I posted all that after a serious thoughtful post of yours, only because of your kos-name.)

          Glad you liked it!!!

          (btw, I do believe me absolute number one fave line of all is:
          "Did he doubt or did he try.  
          Answers aplenty in the bye and bye.
          Talk about your plenty and talk about your ills.
          One man gathers what another man spills."
          (I never have to google any lyrics from St. Stephen!!)

          Enjoy your day!!!  Mine is just that little bit better now!

          Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. Tear Ayn, the GOP, and Fox News new orifices; laugh and enjoy. @floydbluealdus1

          by Floyd Blue on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:40:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Strongly disagree (34+ / 0-)

    Like it or not, professional sports players associations are some of the most visible and recognizable labor unions in the country.

    Even though it's millionaires vs. billionaires, the struggles labor vs. management that play out in these lockouts help shape public perception of all unions.  Management in all labor strikes try to paint labor as greedy and bankrupting the company, and the NHL is no different (like the NFL and NBA before it). If people buy this explanation, they;re more likely to buy it in other labor disputes.

    However, if we (correctly) paint the owners as greedy management who are trying to squeeze more profit out of their workforce with no consideration for their consumers, it makes public perception of all other labor disputes heavier in our favor.

    I always stand with workers, rich or otherwise.

  •  if most of the sunbelt teams went under (23+ / 0-)

    it would be good for the league. in the '90s, the league thought it would expand south and become a major player in the u.s., like the nfl, mlb, and the nba. the league and the owners got greedy and abandoned their fan base. they deserve no sympathy.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:14:20 PM PST

  •  You don't seem to know what happened in baseball, (15+ / 0-)

    or what is happening in the NHL labor negotiations. The Expos stadium was completely empty; even when they were a top team in '94 they had lackluster attendance most of the time. Baseball has had the most stable labor situation since Fehr was there.

    Then NHLPA offered to go down to 50%, but the owners rejected the offer in literally 20 minutes, along with two other offers. They owners do not want to agree to any settlement where they still have to pay the money they have agreed to pay players in their current contracts. This includes players that were signed just months ago, because suddenly they can't afford them.

    Also, they league has been recording record growth recently, but the owners refuse to incorporate any labor-sharing agreement. So, teams that don't belong in the NHL, like Anaheim, Columbus, 2 teams in Florida, Dallas, Phoenix, etc., are struggling, and want the players to take less money because the league was stupid enough to try to force teams into markets that aren't hockey markets instead of putting them into hockey markets.

    If hockey had a better revenue-sharing agreement between the owners, like the one put into place through the Fehr led negotiations in baseball, the NHL would be far better off.

    On top of that the NHL has serious issues with their officiating and legitimacy. The playoffs were a joke. Penalties are called seemingly random, and are called vastly differently at different points in the game. It makes it almost impossible for new fans to get into the game, which leads to markets like Phoenix failing miserably. Right now due to the reffing and "supplementary discipline" the NHL has marginally more credibility than the NBA did right before their gambling controversy broke.

    •  I'm not mad that the Expos left (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, McGahee220, lonespark

      I'm mad that they changed the free agency rules and the entire league-leading team left the year after the strike.  There is a horrible lack of parity in baseball.  Now large market teams like Boston and the Yankees make the playoffs almost every year.

      As for the NHL, if teams are cut, there are less players.  Surely the union doesn't want that.

      •  the owner (Loria) intentionally trashed the Expos (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        susanala, lonespark, pademocrat

        ... franchise so the fans would quit coming out, allowing the stadium lease to be broken so he could flip the franchise back to MLB (who could then sell it off to another city), and then leverage himself into a  team in a bigger market (Marlins).

        It was a plotline straight out of "Major League."

      •  Bosox have been on the outside looking in (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        susanala, lonespark

        3 straight years now. Plus this year the old Expos (Nats) had the best record in all of MLB. The Orioles even made it in. The Texas Rangers won teh A.L. Pennant 2 straight years.

        The lack of parity between bigs and smalls just doesn't carry the same weight it used to.

        Meanwhile the NFL, which is held up as an example of ultimate parity, has seen the Pats win the AFC East 9 of the last 11 seasons. The Giants won 2 of the last 5 Lombardi Trophies.

        The NBA is a league really lacking in parity.

        liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

        by RockyMtnLib on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:04:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  THe Red Sox make the playoffs every year? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What planet are you on. The Red Sox were last in the playoffs in 2009 when they were swept by the Angels.

  •  If you pay $50 for a baseball ticket, are you.... (25+ / 0-)

    ... paying $50 to watch the players play, or to watch the owners own?

    Ticket prices for sports events, like any commodity, are set as a function of supply and demand. The cost of the commodity (i.e. player salaries) has very little to do with the perceived value to customers.

    In other words, pro sports team owners will set their prices as high as they think the market will allow -- whether their team payroll is $20 million or $200 million makes little difference.

    Proof of this was the previous NHL lockout in 2005, which the owners basically won in a near unconditional rout -- they got everything they wanted, including a salary cap and salary rollbacks.

    Salaries leaguewide went down 20 percent overnight. Ticket prices? Actually INCREASED in most markets.

    And now, after essentially winning unconditional victory in the LAST lockout, effectively getting everything they wanted,  the OWNERS LOCK OUT AGAIN.

    Screw 'em. Do I have huge sympathy for guys playing hockey for a milion bucks a year? No.

    But I have way more sympathy for them than the guys sitting up in the luxury boxes eating caviar.

    If I pay money for a sports ticket, I'd rather pay to watch the players play, not to watch the owners own.

  •  I couldn't disagree more. (29+ / 0-)

    I find this post disturbing. It is exactly what I hear from the right whenever professional sports or entertainment unions have labor strife.

    1. Using the average pay as a deciding factor for whether or not to support a union defeats the entire point.

    2. Sports, in particular, are very short-lived careers with high risk. You spend years and years preparing and competing for a few years of employment.

    3. In sports, the players ARE the product. They are the best in the world at something consumers value.

    4. Complaining about their salaries misses the point. You could lower their salaries to minimum wage and all you would do is put all that extra money in the owner's pocket. Why would you think the owners deserve more than the players?  

    This isn't about how much someone deserves for playing a game, it's about who deserves how much of the pie.

    And as a side note, blaming the player's union for ruining baseball is tremendously unfair and inaccurate.

    •  Fair point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skymutt, debedb, lonespark

      About average salaries.  This bugs me too.  But the minimum salary is also very comfortable.  If an NHL player only plays one season, that does not mean that they should be set for life.  They should eat a job like everyone else.

      The owners take a lot of financial risk owning a team.  I believe that a lot of the, do lose money.  Some do it out of a sense of responsibility to the community.

    •  Thank you. (13+ / 0-)

      I am a member of two creative unions.  WGA and DGA.  Whenever our contracts come up, we hear "those overpaid writers, what are they complaining about?"

      Now, that's real class warfare.  "We support unions...but not for union members who happen to get rich."

      Truth be told, our minimum salaries and fees vary, but on average are fair and in the mid to high middle class range.   Some writers/directors command much more, putting them in the top 5% - 2% or American yearly earners.

      So what?  Does that mean that the minimum earners should not be supported because there's a small percentage of extremely high earners covered by the same union?

      The high earners and their dues (determined by income percentage) contribute to the health and welfare costs for the rest of us, in addition to union overhead and litigation to defend our contracts against the studios.  Ditto in athletes' unions.

      Unless unions are obstructionist or corrupt, I believe it's the height of hypocrisy not to support them simply because some of their members are wealthy.  

      "The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons. Greed, anger, and delusion." - Bodhidharma

      by hopesprings on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:17:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uh oh, quick DUCK... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb, Kevskos

    it's a bunch of pissed-off hockey fans plastering your page!

    Don't forget that North American hockey has fighting as its key shibboleth and extra-sporting innovation. That is the main reason why I would be perfectly happy to see hockey evaporate. Really don't miss it.

  •  By the way, be aware that whenever a pro owner.... (23+ / 0-)

    ... cries about losing money, the chances are 99.8% it is complete bullshit, usually in an attempt to screw taxpayers out of hundreds of millions more dollars in free arenas or sweetheart lease deals..

    Very few "major league" pro sports franchises lose money, at all, ever.

    •  Absolutely true. (10+ / 0-)

      It is one of the reasons that the unions always say"Hey, we'd be willing to take less if what you're saying is true, just open the books and prove it."

      Spoiler alert - they don't open the books.

      And even when, through creative accounting, they do have a rough year, the value of their franchise is always growing.

      •  Actually NHL teams (0+ / 0-)

        Do open the books.  All revenues(not just ticket sales) are accounted for.

        •  Completely concocted/fabricated. nt (0+ / 0-)
        •  Fair enough. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sychotic1, RockyMtnLib, lonespark, Kevskos

          I was speaking generally, but if that isn't true about hockey, I will definitely retract it.

          It is very, very true in the entertainment industry, which is the eternal partner in the "look how much money they make" anti-unionism.

          I would plead with you as a progressive to rethink your position on this. Not because I need you to agree with me, but because I don't think you have thought this all the way through.

          Honestly, I understand why you think this way, it is a very intuitive position to have... I just think that it is an important subject that is worthy of extra thought. Because though the numbers are vastly different in scale, it is exactly the same fight as any other union.

          •  One of the major concessions (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lonespark, ssgbryan

            The league made in the last lockout was to include revenue from all sources when calculating income.

            The owners somewhat despicably tried to stop doing this in their original offer but have since backed off this position.  The books aren't open to the public, but they are checked thoroughly by the nhlpa.

            •  the league made NO concessions in the last lockout (0+ / 0-)

              ... it was a complete slam dunk victory for the owners.

              They may have told the NHLPA they were going to show them "all" the revenue, but they always keep plenty off the books.

              BTW, it is not only the NHLPA they want to keep revenue off the books from -- it is also the local municipalities who pay for the arenas.

  •  Disagree (11+ / 0-)

    Why have salaries gone up?  Because owners keep handing out ridiculous contracts.

    Now they're crying poor and that the players get too much money.  No one is making them give mediocre players 30 million dollars.

    •  Exactly. I have never been impressed by (5+ / 0-)

      pro sport team owners' cries that the players have to give up their rights to protect the owners from their own stupidity, greed, and lack of self control. I thought they are the fabulous job creators who we are supposed to worship. Instead they tell us that they are too stupid to set reasonable wages for their employees unless forced to do so by a labor agreement.

  •  United we stand (10+ / 0-)

    Divided we fall.  This diary is an attempt at division.

    There is no such thing as an off year election. Every election effects each other. We need to work as hard in 2014 as we did in 2012.

    by pollbuster on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:24:44 PM PST

  •  Excuse me? (10+ / 0-)

    Don Fehr ruined baseball? I can think of a lot of people responsible for the relocation of the Expos, but Don Fehr ain't one of them.

    Hockey players get a higher percentage of revenue because there is more "non-shared" revenue in Hockey than there is in other sports.

    It is not the job of the union to keep alive franchises in Phoenix, Nashville and Florida. At least two of those teams could make money by moving to Toronto if the Maple Leafs didn't insist on keeping the market to themselves. Does it really make sense for the LA market to have two hockey teams and the Toronto market to only have one?

    Honestly, this would all be over by moving those four teams.

    "Because Romney's a clown . . ."--Henry Francis

    by LeftCoastTimm on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:28:46 PM PST

    •  No it doesn't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But there is a speculation that the Leafs have veto control over allowing a second team in the GTA.  If that's true, there likely will never be a second team there.

      I must end each and every day with a dose of a regularly scheduled Top Comments. A regularly scheduled Top Comments diary is a must for developing the calmness I need to get the required eight hours of sleep. - cohenzee

      by cohenzee on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:52:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ironically perhaps, the pro-Canadiens (0+ / 0-)

      Montreal media was extremely anti-Expos, and probably played more of a role than anything else in getting them out of town so that hockey would not have to share the spotlight with anything.

      But now they don't even have hockey anymore, ha ha.  Or Celine Dion, for that matter (but I won't gloat about that, because sadly we're now afflicted with her . . .. ).

    •  Nashville is doing fine (0+ / 0-)

      Phoenix is fucked up because of the stadium location (Glenndale).  I.e. it is way the hell away from the fan base in Phoenix.

      I am not up to speed on the Tampa team, but from what I remember, they are locked into a long-term lease.

      Put a good team on the ice & people will show up.

  •  FYI (11+ / 0-)

    The average NHL career lasts LESS then 2 years and the average player doesn't make millions.

    •  Okay, but that's still a million dollars (0+ / 0-)

      For less than ten years work and training.  They don't deserve to be set for life.  They should get a job like everyone else when their career is over.

      •  If you think they don't... (9+ / 0-)

        ... you are wrong.

        Say they make a million bucks.

        Often this will be before:

        - 10% off the top to their agent.
        - 5-15% for a manager, if they have one.
        - 5% to their lawyer
        - If they live in, say, Los Angeles, they are paying both state and federal income taxes, which will total nearly 50%.

        I can't speak for hockey, but I can say that in Hollywood you will typically keep between 28-30% of your income.

        Still a lot of money, but you would be shocked at how quickly it goes, even living non-extravagantly (for their income bracket).

        Couple that with how incredibly young the players are and you have a recipe for needing another job in a hurry after your career.  

        I guarantee you that non-superstars are not, as you put it, "set for life."

  •  Donald Fehr ruined baseball? No. Baseball is doing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, a2nite

    pretty well these days. Too bad there weren't 20 or 30 thousand more Expo fans - bitter or otherwise, you'd still have a team. If Phoenix or Atlanta can't support a team, then tough shitski, as Alex Ovechkin would say. The league owners can either prop them up or cut 'em loose. Which will suck for the municipalities who built facilities for these owners. There is no league without the players.

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:40:17 PM PST

  •  I cannot stand Fehr. (0+ / 0-)

    He apparently doesn't understand that he is playing with a weaker hand this time.

    I don't feel sorry for any Republican that is a member of a union. Lot of those guys contribute a ton of money to people who want to kill unions while reaping the benefits of being in a union.

    It'll be a cold day in hell that I stand with a bunch of hypocritical Republicans.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:41:52 PM PST

  •  I've heard about hockey... (7+ / 0-)

    ...I've even tried to watch hockey now and again and even figured out the rulez of the game...

    I have to confess, though, that I understand that hockey is an acquired taste like most other sports - an abiding passion for its supporters and a shoulder shrug for everybody else. Your 'union' take, on the other hand, I understand completely and disagree with you just about as much as I possibly can.  We support the unionized workers against the owners or we don't.  It doesn't matter what the workers make, because the issue is whether the workers have some say with regard to compensation and working conditions regardless of what those workers do and what their compensation is...

    You are talking like a fan upset at a sports lockout rather than a person who understands what unions are all about.  Since this is Bettman's third lockout, perhaps you should direct your anger in a different direction...

    "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upward mobile..." - Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    by Jack K on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:44:11 PM PST

  •  Hockey in Phoenix. Atlanta failed twice. (10+ / 0-)

    Columbus, Ohio?

    Teams going bust in markets they shouldn't be in is not the players fault. Those fat contracts? Fairly negotiated.

    The current CBA is the one the owners agreed to, after their last lockout. The last three work stoppages, including this one, have been lockouts. Each time the owners agree to a deal, then complain about.

    1. Unions matter. Every union matters. If they can come after and bust this union, the rest are in danger.

    2. Not only do the owners want to reduce the players take, they want the players to pay back money to get to the 50% now.

    3. The want to rewrite existing contracts. It's not just about money.

    Again, if they can pull this crap on high paid athletes, what will they continue to do to the rest of us?

    You think all this union busting popped up out of thin air? Ohio and Wisconsin? Right to work laws? The Lingerie League refs? The NHL?

    Take a look at that list owners. Show one of them needs any sympathy.

    More brilliant businessman fuck ups. Just like Rmoney. Can't manage a damn thing, but that's our faullt.

    You're not making money in Phoenix? Move the damn team someplace more logical. Like, I don't know, maybe Winnipeg where you came from in the first. Oh, wait, can't because somebody beat you to it. Some other clown with a team where it didn't belong. Maybe you can try Quebec City?

    Stupid dumbass greedy owners wanting their employees to pay for the owners' mistakes. Don Fehr ain't the problem. Gary "Bust A Union" Bettman is. Going for the career lockout record.

    A society is judged by how well it cares for those in the dawn of life, the children. By how well it cares for those in the twilight of life, the elderly. And, by how well it cares for those on the edge of life; the poor, the sick, and the disabled.

    by BobBlueMass on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:02:50 PM PST

    •  Columbus... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites, Ahianne

      has supported the Blue Jackets rather well, considering management has never put a competitive team on the floor.  Before that, Columbus supported its minor league team.  If they would put a decent team on the floor, this could be a good hockey town.  Don't hate on Columbus!

      •  "....on the floor...." ? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayim, Kevskos, skymutt

        Sorry, that just jumped out at me.

        Never saw anything wrong with Columbus having a team, though.

        They have cold weather and it's the biggest city in Ohio.

        Still don't understand why Cleveland doesn't have a team, though. Seems like Indy might be a good place for a team too. And what about Milwaukee?

        It's the move to the Sun Belt I don't understand.

        Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

        by Bush Bites on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:28:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe... (0+ / 0-)

        Are you hockey fans, or fair weather fans?

        Not saying Columbus could not be a hockey town. But if you're only going to show up when the team is winning you are not going to be a stable successful franchise. Ask the Florida/Miami/Whatever/Boom and Bust Marlins.

        Maybe Columbus can make it, maybe it can't. Better Columbus than Nashville and the sun belt cities. Point is, the NHL has expanded/moved into places where it is not succeeding. Those teams either need to move or fold.

        Continually locking out the players, blaming the workers, for poor management decisions is bullshit. "I am mismanaging the company, but I still need my bonus and profit, so pay up", is just more Rmoney/Bain/GOP/business school bullshit.

        Having worn a blue jacket to an athletic event in Columbus, I have other reasons to dislike Columbus.

        A society is judged by how well it cares for those in the dawn of life, the children. By how well it cares for those in the twilight of life, the elderly. And, by how well it cares for those on the edge of life; the poor, the sick, and the disabled.

        by BobBlueMass on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:43:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Uhmm, Nashville is doing well (0+ / 0-)

          Small market, but they sell about 95% of their tickets and they are ALWAYS in the playoffs.

          It is a good, defense first, hard-playing team with few drama queens - which is how Nashville likes their sport teams

  •  I'm sorry you lost your baseball team... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cosecant, Sychotic1
    (I'm a very bitter Expos fan).
    I know it's no consolation, but your former team is well-loved here in Washington, and not just because they had a good season this year.

    We love our Nats -- your Expos -- and we'll take good care of them for you. I hope you will someday get an new expansion team.

    "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

    by gfre on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 10:07:12 PM PST

  •  You misunderstand the issues in dispute (10+ / 0-)

    The players are willing to deal on revenue, but the owners also insist on dictating how the players' share is distributed:

    Dave Zirin of The Nation writes regularly on labor disputes.  Here's his most recent take on the NHL:

    The class struggle does not abate if the workers make a good income.  Your argument is simply a variant of those pitting private and public sector workers against each other (though that is clearly not your intent).

  •  meritocracy vs. plutocracy... I support the former (7+ / 0-)

    While I agree that top-level hockey players are pretty far from average union workers, I tend to default to supporting them over the owners.  Player salaries are one of the purest meritocracies you will find.  You can inherit a fortune, but nobody can hand you the ability to play professional hockey.  That ability is the product of a lifetime of training.  And upon reaching the league, players are at a disadvantage in negotiations because their talent is a rapidly depreciating asset.  You can own an NHL team at 70, but there are not too many players over 35.  A year lost to a lockout hurts a player more than an owner.

    I supported the owners in the last lockout because a salary cap was necessary for league competitiveness.  Not this time though.  This time it's just greed.

  •  A couple of Points (7+ / 0-)

    If you look back at when football hockey basketball baseball decided to unionize the wage was no where near what it is now.  And yet the owners still make money espically with mega TV deals which is part of the NHL's problem. Hockey in the US doesn't get the ratings it does in Canada.

    You also have to remember that Walker's attack on unions wasn't all Unions just public employees which I am one.

    And finally while I don't make anywhere near the money a pro player does I'll support them. After all the Hockey guys have been Locked Out by the Owners. All this antiunion crap will continue at all levels of society even though the money is different between a pro and me its the principal of the labor mangement situation.

    One more thing if you want to watch sports other than Pro's there's always college teams and semipro teams, and high school teams that need your support.

  •  What Don't You Understand (14+ / 0-)

    about the term "lock out"? For the second time in this short century the NHL owners have locked the players out.

    And - when you simply list a percentage comparison with the contracts of other professional athletes, you are missing quite a few very significant differences.

    Let's start with the concept of 50%. It's true that NHL players currently receive a nominal 57% of some revenues, but they are also required to place a deducted sum in escrow until the league calculates the revenues after the season is over. The players have never received all of their funds in escrow back so they have never actually been paid 57%.

    The players have already offered to take a 50% cut during this round of bargaining but they would like to establish once and for all just what the hockey revenues are - something the owners do not especially want to get into. An NHL player, for instance, does not own his likeness.

    The owners are insisting that present contracts be devalued by 25% - after going on a spending spree this past summer.

    The owners are insisting that the maximum length of a contract be five years.

    The owners are once again insisting that the cap be lowered - as it was just 5 years ago. Since that time league revenues have gone way up - TSN and Sportsnet up here are quoting a $2.5 billion figure over 5 years.

    The owners are also demanding that free agency be pushed back.

    There are a few powerful neanderthal owners - Snider in Philly and the Jacobs in Boston amongst them - who are driving this bus.

    The players could not play if they wanted to - they are once again locked out. Should they just keep rewarding the vultures every time they want to strip their rights and working conditions?

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:51:53 PM PST

  •  Crabs in a bucket. (6+ / 0-)

    Making a lot of money doesn't mean that those who employ  you are entitled to treat you like shit.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 12:37:41 AM PST

  •  Usually I wouldn't care. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, Kevskos

    But it's clear at least to me that the NHL intentionally keeps franchises in places they can't be successful, in order to drive down salaries for everyone.  The NBA does this too, but to a much lesser degree (basically just Sacramento).  At some point it's possible to negotiate in such bad faith, really to frame your argument in such bad faith even prior to negotiating, that you don't deserve any consideration even though you're negotiating with some very well-off people.  I don't think anyone here would countenance the US blackmailing Sweden just because, hey, it's France and they're wealthy.

  •  So, you loved Reagan crushing PATCO? (5+ / 0-)

    Because that was precisely analogous. You had fairly well paid professionals striking for reasons of both working conditions/income and passenger safety.

    Ronald Reagan was shrewd enough to recognize that there would be little public sympathy for the relatively well paid air traffic controllers. The nascent Right Wing Noise Machine cranked up to full volume to demonize the union as greedy weasels at every turn. Our Craven Corporate Media™ proved to be obscenely compliant with their instructions, consistently portraying PATCO as lazy, greedy criminals. Reagan's Labor Secretary worked diligently to crush the union.

    And the destruction of PATCO set the stage for crushing unions across America, insuring that all the illusory gains of Reagan's deficit-fueled economic bubble went into the pockets of billionaires.

    You're drinking the corporate Kool-Aid, my friend.

    •  I'm not saying that the union should be crushed (0+ / 0-)

      I'm saying that in this dispute, I don't side with the players' position.  I don't side with the owners either, I was just addressing an article that I thought was unbalanced.  I don't see how going from an average annual salary of $1.6 million to an average salary of $1.4 million and giving up 1 year of free agency is being "crushed"

      •  giving up that 1 year of free agency makes it (0+ / 0-)

        that much less likely that most players will ever get to free agency -- and for the average player that's the key to slipping in one or two years at anything much higher than the league minimum, before your career is over (few players last more than 4 or 5 years).

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 06:59:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That 1 year of free agency is everything. (0+ / 0-)

        Most players are either dropped from the roster or suffer a career-ending injury before they ever get a shot at the giant salaries the owners keep pointing to. So eliminating "just one year" of free agency for most is equivalent to never reaching free agency, and being paid the NHL minimum until suffering that catastrophic knee injury.

        Meanwhile, the billionaire owners keep banking cash.

  •  Should have never expanded to the Sun Belt. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How did Phoenix and Atlanta (not to mention Tampa and Nashville) get teams when Cleveland doesn't have one?

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:13:48 AM PST

  •  I just miss hockey, (0+ / 0-)

    and it strikes me from the little I have seen from the negotiations, that the refusal to bargain on the owners part is the main sticking point.  Seriously, if it is so unprofitable to own a hockey franchise in certain cities, get rid of them.  

    F--- Scott & Fitzgerald

    by henlesloop on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:18:04 AM PST

  •  Don't NHL teams usually defray stadium costs... (0+ / 0-) operating in tandem with basketball teams.

    Not sure you can talk costs without covering that. Conceivably, that's half their overhead expenses knocked off.

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:18:13 AM PST

  •  You have a point about sports unions, though. (0+ / 0-)

    I remember during the NFL strike in Chicago years ago, striking union players were crossing the picket lines in front of local TV studios to go do their weekly sports shows.

    A few newspaper columnists noted the irony, or hypocrisy, but the players union didn't seem to have a problem with it.

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:22:46 AM PST

  •  Wankery in the form of concern trolling (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, ssgbryan

    First, the diarist really doesn't understand professional sports at all:

    Because hockey is a smaller market than the other major sports, the overhead costs as a percentage of total revenue is also much higher.  It's proportionally a lot more expensive to operate an NHL franchise.
    Basic mathematics says it is less expensive to operate an NHL franchise than either an MLB or NFL one. Why? Football for one has a large roster of 53 players. Baseball teams have to pay substantial sums of money to pay the salaries of their minor league players. That being said, the NHL is more expensive than an NBA team which has fewer players on a roster but by no means is hockey more expensive a sport for an owner than football or baseball.

    Secondly, like the other sports, the players did not strike but were locked out by the owners. In the case of the NFL, the league was enjoying record profits. In the NHL's case, they have a national tv contract w/ NBC which provides the owners the revenue stream to pay those high salaries which they are now complaining about.

    The other basic concept of operating a sports team is that you get to depreciate the salaries. So when some team says they are losing money, don't believe it until you see their actual books. The then FLorida Marlins complained to Miami they were losing money and needed a new stadium. Later it was revealed that the allegedly money losing Marlins were actually making a profit. This is about crushing unions. Period.

    •  Proportionally higher (0+ / 0-)

      Not higher - proportionally higher.

      The NFL had $9 Billion in revenue last year.  That's just under $300 million per team.  The NHL had $2.9 Billion in revenue last year.  That's about $100 million per team.

      After paying their players, NFL teams have about $150 million to pay their fixed costs like travel, marketing, stadium costs, insurance, etc.  NHL teams have about $40 million left to pay these costs.  I'm not saying they are the same costs.  But these fixed costs will take a greater proportion of after-salary revenue on an NHL team than an NFL team.

      Before you call someone a "wanker" or a "troll" and call out the basic math skills of someone who has chosen "cosecant" (a ratio - or more colloquially a "proportion") as his username, perhaps you should first aquire some literacy skills.

    •  You are wrong about the NHL and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      minor league teams.  All NHL teams have at least one minor league team for which they employ players.  Some have two and a few have three.

      I must end each and every day with a dose of a regularly scheduled Top Comments. A regularly scheduled Top Comments diary is a must for developing the calmness I need to get the required eight hours of sleep. - cohenzee

      by cohenzee on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 08:07:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some observations: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bush Bites, Kevskos, Cosecant

    a) They make lousy poster children for unions. Most of them are off playing in Europe right now and still making more money this year than most of us will see in a lifetime, union member or not. I don't really get why DKos has latched on to the issue.

    b) It's ironic that one of the only places left in America where unions still have great power is filled with millionaires.

    c) Kind of odd the way so many people on this thread want to focus on the particulars of league business instead of whether the NHL players association is representative of a typical union, or a special case.

    My feeling is that thumping on this particular tub doesn't engender any sympathy towards unions in general. It ain't an optics winner for the concept of unions in any way. And I say this a someone who likes hockey and has no sympathy for the owners.

    You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

    by kenlac on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 04:44:01 AM PST

    •  A follow-up observation: (0+ / 0-)

      to clarify what I said about poster children: they deserve our support, but not our focus.

      You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

      by kenlac on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:09:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So you think union workers shouldn't be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      malibu1964, ssgbryan

      able to find alternative work when their employers have locked them out?

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:03:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, no, of couse not. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm only observing that if one's goals are to create sympathy for union workers, then NHL players make lousy case studies. Your average NHL players has still-lucrative options aplenty. Your average auto worker or teacher does not.

        Nonetheless I bear no grudge towards NHL players for exercising those options.

        You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

        by kenlac on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:10:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You know, I don't remember people sniffing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          malibu1964, ssgbryan

          about pro athletes' unions back when some of the Packers were making public statements in solidarity with the wisconsin public workers' unions.


          It isn't just a slogan, or a motto, or a catchphrase.

          It's a creed, and it's the foundation of real power for labor. It is the whole ballgame, if you'll pardon the pun.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:20:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, as I said in an addendum to my (0+ / 0-)

            original comment, they do deserve our support, but perhaps are not a good object of focus. I understand  and support solidarity, but even I have a hard time drawing a line of connection between a professional sports player and a public school teacher that doesn't involve a few twists I'd rather it not have.

            Perhaps it's all in the approach. It'd be interesting to try something along the lines of, "If they can do this to millionaires, imagine what they get away with for the average Joe?"

            You can call it "class warfare" -- we call it "common sense"

            by kenlac on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:35:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Think about it this way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, malibu1964

    These men have a skill or trade, that they can employ for anywhere from 6 to maybe 10 years. That is the optimal time for them to put their bodies on the line in hopes that for those 6 or 10 years.

    In those years they have to hope that they can make enough to cover themselves for their entire working life, because after those years they will be forced to retrain themselves for another trade.

    Basically boil your entire working life from ages 16 to 70, and these guys do that in 10 years.

    So no, the contracts are not ridiculous. Not when you are playing in Toronto one night, and then a day later playing in Chicago, then New York, and then back to LA.

    Could the players give a little on their revenue share, maybe. But then again the owners could structure their revenue sharing better so that teams were not going bankrupt left and right.

    Baseball figured it out, how the NHL can't is beyond me.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 05:42:15 AM PST

  •  As with all arguments about unions (4+ / 0-)

    wanting too much (or any other criticism one hears about unions in general), there are are two critical considerations:

    A. The history. And the history of compensation and working conditions for professional athletes is appalling, and in no major sport is it more appalling than in ice hockey. When Gordie Howe played for the Red Wings, he was expected to take a puck in the face, go back to the dressing room, get it stitched up, come back out on the ice and play, and then pay the doctor's bill himself. He played 25 years in the NHL, and at the end of it his pension was something like $850 a month. Etc.

    B. Any argument that suggests that "these workers have it so good, how dare they complain," fails to grasp that these workers have it so good precisely because they refuse to back down, and because they negotiate, and because they have a union. It's an easy argument to make against pro hockey players, but it's exactly the same argument I heard the last time UPS workers threatened to strike. "Other people would kill to have those jobs!" Well, then other people should join unions, instead of criticizing them.

    What really makes me want to throw up are right-wing jackass I-me-mine pro athletes, who don't understand that their spectacular wealth was won, not by their hard work and extraordinary talent, but by their predecessors who risked everything to organize, and by the lawyers who helped them do it. Without those unions, those same pro athletes would still be famous -- I'm not denying that they have talent and that they work hard --  and get to have lotsa sex with hot sports groupies and stuff, but they'd be making a tiny fraction of what they're making now.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 07:17:48 AM PST

  •  RE The NHL's southern expansion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ssgbryan, BleacherBum153

    The entire rationale for Bettman's southern strategy was simple -- secure a national TV deal.  You cannot get NBC to sign on unless you have the large sunbelt markets covered.  He went to the mat to keep the Coyotes in Glendale because he needed to keep the top 10-ranked Phoenix TV market during the TV contract negotiations.  

    Now that Bettman convinced NBC to get in bed with the NHL for the next decade, you really think he cares now what happens to the Arizona franchise or any of the other money-losing franchises, which are mostly located in the sunbelt?  Why do you think the Atlanta Thrashers announced their move to Winnipeg less than two months after the NBC Universal TV deal was signed?  Bettman got his TV deal, so he was free to shake down the Winnipeg ownership group for a hefty relocation fee.  Bettman's a scumbag -- it's all about winning the negotiation, no matter what dirty tricks and bait-and-switch tactics he needs to use to bleed someone dry.  

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