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Dated and biased even by my standards, but a must-read profile of Proskauer-Rose nonetheless

Yoost offering a little "for further reading": this came from Dustin Penner's Twitter account, and as you know. I'm the CNBC of bloggers when it comes to being a NHLPA liberal here, so this ain't exactly "fair and balanced" territory, but I would highly suggest that you read this dated article from the Nation's David Zirin (yes, they are very politically liberal. If it matters, I'm a non-partisan "squishy centrist") regarding Proskauer-Rose, the law firm which the NHL, NFL, MLB NBA have employed as their outside counsel whenever they negotiate collective bargaining agreements.

Regardless of which side you support in the lockout, if you support any at all, and even given that this article has a pro-player bent that makes people like me sound objective (ha!), it's a must-read nonetheless. It might also yield a little insight as to why Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and the ever-present P-R representative, Bob Batterman, seem to have decided that this is no longer about negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, but instead, a crusade to crush Donald Fehr:

I’m sure this must seem like a wild coincidence: four lockouts in fourteen months, affecting three of the four major professional sports leagues of this country. What are the odds? Actually, they’re very good. This is not merely a case of four sets of labor negotiations that have tragically broken down. This is a conscious, industry-wide strategy. A law firm called Proskauer Rose is now representing management in all four major men’s sports leagues, the first time in history one firm has been hired to play such a unified role. In practice, this has meant that in four sets of negotiations with four very different economic issues at play, we get the same results: lockouts and a stack of union complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. It’s been great for owners and awful for players, fans, stadium workers and tax payers.

Proskauer Rose partner Howard Ganz represents the NBA and Major League Baseball, and fellow-partner Bob Batterman has led negotiations for the NFL and the NHL. As Sports Business Daily reported, “Batterman and Ganz provide advice on strategy, as well as on issues that can emerge during talks, such as the legality of using replacement players.”


Continued, and again, this is way too *#$%@& liberal even for my standards (the liberal equivalent of holding one's nose to read a Karl Rove column), but it's still a must-read. I would also suggest that you follow the link to SportsBusiness Daily's Liz Mullen's 2009 profiles of Ganz and Batterman, given, well...

Ian Pulver, who was NHLPA associate counsel during the lockout and is now an NHL agent, said, “I would urge any group who is negotiating with Batterman to respect, understand and appreciate their adversary.”

Pulver would not comment specifically on his dealings with Batterman while at the NHLPA. But when asked whether Batterman breaks unions, he said, “Bob Batterman is a hard-nosed, smart management attorney who leaves no stone unturned. He will do his best to attempt to execute the orders of his clients including, but not limited to, breaking unions if necessary.”

Batterman, told of the comment, said, “I would be proud to have that on my epitaph.”

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who led the negotiations with Batterman as principal outside labor counsel during the lockout, said the notion that Batterman is overly aggressive is overblown.

“He is only a hawk to the extent that his clients’ position needs to be hawkish,” Daly said. “He is a function of what his client wants, and that’s what lawyers do. In terms of his personal interaction, he is extraordinarily engaging; he is a very friendly guy who gets along with everybody.”

Continued as well, and the words from Daly are prophetic, are they not?

And oh yeah, by the way:

Proskauer Rose was one of the first full-service Wall Street firms to get into the business of labor law and represents only management. The firm boasts about 800 lawyers, about 150 of them labor lawyers. Two league commissioners, the NBA’s David Stern and the NHL’s Gary Bettman,  started their careers at Proskauer.

In the words of those stupid "Ageless Male" commercials' spokesperson, "That explains a lot!"

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It might also yield a little insight as to why Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and the ever-present P-R representative, Bob Batterman, seem to have decided that this is no longer about negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, but instead, a crusade to crush Donald Fehr:

Sigh.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/08/12 at 05:15 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Yeah, it’s getting tiring to write, too, but there is mounting evidence to suggest that this has become an ego war. That’s scary for everybody who wants to see hockey played this season. And you will of course hear the, “It’s Fehr who wants to beat Bettman at all costs” line from the other side.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/08/12 at 05:29 AM ET

Avatar

Yeah, it’s getting tiring to write, too, but there is mounting evidence to suggest that this has become an ego war.

George, negotiate something.  Then tell me what it was about.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/08/12 at 07:55 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I tried to negotiate with a troll this morning, someone who seems to exist to criticize people who may or may not be members of the media, based upon his comments and Twitter account. As it turned out, the negotiation failed because, regardless of what I said or how thoughtfully I attempted to say it, the troll felt his ego was stroked and got off on it.

So I failed. And next time, I’m not going to feed the troll.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/08/12 at 08:07 AM ET

Avatar

I would have been a lot less optimistic about the Bettman/Fehr-less meetings if the Oct. 8 New Yorker profile of Ron Burkle had risen to the top of my backlog pile before this week. The Penguins are mentioned only in passing, but it’s a very interesting read. He may, in his business past, have been union-friendly, but only in comparison with other ruthless businessmen who apparently hold deep grudges. It’s at http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/10/08/121008fa_fact_bruck . The bulk of the article is paywalled, but I’ll gladly mail the issue to any blogger who wants it.

Posted by aqf on 12/08/12 at 08:08 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

150 labor lawyers, wow. I can just imagine these suits sitting down to dinner with their kids and the little ones asking daddy or mommy what they did today at work and they say well, I work at crushing sports unions so fans can’t watch their sports, now pass the cavier.

Heard interview with little gary today responding to his lockout legacy during his reign say well MLB had 8 straight season when they had strikes then went a long stretch of labor peace. I don’t recall that and I highly doubt many of those strikes (if any) lasted more than two months into the season.

He also ranted about how bad of shape the NHL was in around 2001 yet he was some 8 years in as Commish like it wasn’t his fault or the owners, lol.

So sick of listening to this real life Benjamin Linus. Him. daly and Jacobs are cancers in our sport.

 

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 12/08/12 at 06:27 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.