KK Members Blog

KK Members Blog

Open Fan Letter to the League on the Current State of Affairs

10/26/2012 at 5:45pm EDT

To The NHL:

Where do I begin? During the course of the last seven years since the last lockout, you have seen record growth; growth that many American businesses would kill to have. You have watched your sport increase its fan base year in and year out, even in markets where it usually would not make sense (Phoenix, Carolina, etc.). Now here we are: a month into another lockout, with no end in sight. You guys have had seven years to figure this issue out. You wait until a month before the season starts to even begin negotiating. And furthermore, you have done so, all the while pointing fingers at the NHLPA. You expect most fans to be ignorant to the nature of the business, and while some are, that does not make all of us. Why is it, that in every one of the CBA’s under Gary Bettman’s watch, has there not been one to be solved without a work stoppage? During his tenure as your head in command, he has caused twice as many missed games as any other commissioner in sports. Now when you translate this to any other business in history, you will not find one CEO of any business who is responsible for as much loss in production that is still gainfully employed by said business. It astounds me that you guys not only continue to employ this man, but you do it while encouraging his behavior of “well we will not meet without preconditions; we will not meet unless you are willing to operate under our framework,” mentality. You are a group of multi billionaires, yet you squabble over making even more. Meanwhile, you do not think about nor care about the person making burgers in your arena; or the person tearing tickets and directing traffic for your arena. You have not only harmed the well being of the sport, you have also damaged many people’s financial wellbeing who need that extra $8.50 an hour job. You make more while ordering your latte than they make in a month, yet you continue to demand more.

When does this greedy mentality end? When you get everything you want? You claim you want fairness, meanwhile you concede nothing in your offers. Do I think the players make a good living? Yes, I most certainly do. But they are entitled to it, because you seem to forget, without them you would have no team to exploit. You received a massive pay cut in your favor from the players the last go round during your CBA negotiations, and you have seen a massive rise in profits because of it. Now, you want even more. You are not content with the massive amounts of concessions you received the last CBA; no, you seem to be out for blood. As a fan of the sport for quite some time now, I am completely disgusted with how you have treated the fans. Forget the players and yourself; you have all forgotten about us, the fans and the low level employees you are hurting. You claim that you feel so bad for the fans because we are the ones hurting the most, yet your actions send a different message. Your actions are that of a bunch of spoiled brats. You have everything, yet you still want more. You will not negotiate unless you get your way. You have spent less time going over all of the player’s proposals than they spent on one of yours. They take the time to go through each and every proposal you put in front of them, meanwhile you look over theirs for fifteen minutes and decide it is no good? You think this sends the fans a message that you care and feel sorry for us? You don’t. I was around the last lockout. I remember the sentiments of the fans last time, and I can see that it is not the same this time around. You think that we will come back the same we did last time but you are wrong. The anger from the fans was not as high as it is now, and with each cancelled games, you push another fan away. Well I just wanted to let you know a thing or two. Not that you really care what I think or how I feel, but I do. Countless fans share my sentiments. I am mad at the blind vitriol of the owners of this league. You continually say how the NHLPA is in the wrong, yet you seem to ignore how much criticizing you do. You are bitter because they have not caved into your every whim. You think that fans respect that? No, you are wrong my friend. We respect mature negotiations between two sides with differing opinions. You have not acted in good faith. You negotiate contracts with players, just to turn around and say they are paid too much and that the contracts are outlandish. Who gave them the outlandish contracts? You did. Craig Leopold offers Suter and Parise 98 million dollar contracts on one day, only to go to the negotiating table the next day and try to rescind what they are worth. How can you tell people that you acted in good faith when signing contracts, when you have every intention on making them worth less in the end?

The owners and the league continue to say they just want what’s fair for both parties. Well, what is fair for both parties is to give the players what they were offered in their contracts, and use the new CBA for new contracts. Do not try to redefine the value of the contracts you already signed. That is about as opposite of fair as it gets. Give the players a 50/50 split like everyone knows you will end up deciding upon. But do it after the current contracts are up. Sign new contracts under the 50/50 split, and keep the value of already committed contracts at what their face value is. I understand that this means you cannot hop down to 50/50 from 57/43 in one season, without altering the cap room/rules. The NHLPA understands this too. They have continually offered to meet without preconditions, and you have continued to respond with, “If you are not ready to cave to our whims, there is nothing to talk about.” What kind of sportsmanship is that? That is not how mature adults negotiate their differences. You meet everyday, you talk about what each side wants, you make concessions to one another even if they are not what you desire, and you finalize an agreement. This is not just how you handle CBA’s, but how you handle any grievance in life. I know middle schoolers more learned on the matter of mature negotiations. It sends an enormous “F you” to the fans when report after report shows another day wasted without talking. Well, just so you know… The fans are not as stupid as you think they are. We are tired of money-hungry, greedy millionaires and billionaires squabbling over 300 million a year. Want to prove you care to the fans? Get Gary Bettman to apologize for not doing his damn job. Force him to step down for the good of the game, and find someone more willing to negotiate without demanding his way or the highway. The owners and the NHL as a whole owe the fans a hockey season, an apology, and a show of care about their support given year in and year out. If you want to show the fans that you care about them and appreciate everything they give you, stop talking about it, stop pointing fingers, and stop playing spoiled rich kid; sit down at a table, day in, and day out until you get a deal done to drop the puck.

Sincerely,

Your forgotten fans

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