During labor disputes such as the current NHL lockout, fan loyalty usually falls into three categories. There are fans who support the players, those who support the owners and those who are so disgusted they detest both equally. Obviously, the fans who fall into the latter category need to get a life and realize there are other things out there other than religiously following your favorite sports team. I guess I would fall into that category.
It is interesting how one’s judgment about another human being is often clouded by how much money the person is making. We have all heard the tired fan reaction about those spoiled millionaire players. Spoiled? Really? I wonder if these same people would feel spoiled, if every time they went into their office or place of business they risked their well being and future health for the sake of their job?
Sure, there are high risk jobs out there such as a police officer and construction worker, but the percentage of these employees who sustain injuries compared to a professional hockey player does not even come close. You would be hard pressed to find a professional athlete who has not sustained some sort of significant injury at one time in his career. Many athletes even sustain multiple injuries, with most having health related issues later in life.
There is little secret as to the real purpose for the latest NHL lockout. The owners, and their New York lawyer type Gary Bettman are attempting to break the National Hockey League Players Association. Yep, good old fashioned union busting tactics at their finest. Is there any other reason why a group of individuals, whose annual revenue is $3.3 billion, would grab their pucks and go home? Do you know of any other multbillion dollar industry that takes a year off every seven years?
The increasing frequency of labor disputes and lockouts are also an effort by the owners to condition you – the fan – into thinking these disagreements are a normal way of doing business. By creating this new “normalcy”, it insures most fans go running back to the arenas once the dispute is settled, like hockey fans did in 2005. If you want to read more about the New York lawyer type vultures who have descended upon the sports industry, check out this article by Dave Zirin at The Nation.
Another tactic used by NHL owners and their flock of vultures is to demonize NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr by insinuating he is not communicating complete information about the settlement negotiations to the players. The owners’ purpose for dragging Fehr through the mud is to attempt to sway public opinion against the players union and to get players to lose faith in their chief. These methods are straight from the textbook of union busting and only a naive fool would believe the owners’ preposterous claims.
Those fans who often sympathize with owners point out the entrepeuneural risk associated with owning a hockey team. I do not know about you, but I would rather lose a few bucks (especially if I was a billionaire with plenty more), than sustain a fractured skull and end up in intensive care like Montreal Canadiens prospect Blake Geoffrion did on Friday evening. The only risk owners take at a game is having their personal bartender screw up their favorite drink while lounging in their luxury box. And guess who usually pays for the construction of those luxury boxes?
An amusing comment which is often made by fans is how nobody cares about them. Can someone please explain to me why owners should care about the fans, who will go sprinting back to the games like trained seals once this dispute is settled? If I was an owner and had so many predictable customers at my disposal, I would not give a damn about them either, because if you lose one fan, there are plenty more to replace them.
By lacking critical thinking skills, the fans have emboldened the owners to go full tilt in their efforts to bust up the players union. If the fans had a clue as to how much they are being manipulated and being used as pawns, it is unlikely the owners would go to the lengths they do to get what they want.
And my sincerest apologies for stating these fans need their heads examined, as there is really nothing in there to examine.