Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Off the Cliff

18

Dear Tom,

The Union will never decertify. If they ever did, they would soon be scrambling to get the Union back. The top players would get a lot more money, but most players are below average and their salaries would fall. Contracts won’t have to be guaranteed.

The players also know that fans in small markets would put up with a league that was so unfair to the small markets. Hockey would not sell outside the big markets. Decertification would cost jobs.

BD

I think the evidence strongly suggests that player salaries would go up significantly across the board if the NHLPA decertified.

The entire point of a collective agreement in sports is to restrain salaries. Most Unions negotiate for wage increases, sports Unions negotiate caps on wages both directly and indirectly through restrictions on free agency. In most industries, employers celebrate a decertification movement. In sports, employers sue to keep the Union in business. It is upside down world.

Why would salaries fall for the bottom half of the league? If the role player salaries were actually being propped up by the current minimum wage there would be lots of players at that salary level. Hardly any of them do that poorly. Why do any below average players make more than the minimum today? The vast majority of the grunts make far more than the minimum wage now and the vast majority of them would make far more than $500,000 if the NHLPA disappeared.

Finally, European football players seem to do all right on the wage scale. ESPN recently did a survey of payrolls in team sports. The top three teams – and ten of the top 20 team payrolls – are from European football.

On the jobs issue, fans in the “small” markets are hardly beating down the doors under the current system. That’s what makes them small. Rather than continue to prop them up, the market would rule if the Union decertified. (The market would also rule on player salaries. If I’m wrong on salaries, so be it. Players getting what they actually deserve would be a good thing wouldn’t it?)

It is important to note that the intent of antitrust legislation is to protect the consumer. The existing structure is familiar to us but the last thing it does is protect either the fan or the community. Competition is what keeps prices low.

Decertification might cost jobs – teams in certain markets could very well fail – but this is not a certainty. It is not hard to imagine more NHL teams and more jobs with three or four teams in Southern Ontario, three teams in Montreal and two in Vancouver. Is there any good reason for a Leaf monopoly in Toronto? How much does that cost hockey consumers in that city? Furthermore, some small market teams will find that they can make money despite small crowds by developing and selling players.

The Union is reluctant to decertify because nobody really knows how it will work out. In the short run, it would be chaotic but in the end I think it would be great for the fan.

I don’t think it will happen now – the player’s fear of the unknown is a powerful factor in favour of the status quo – but the players are beginning to understand that the status quo means they will get less every time they sit down at the bargaining table. Sooner or later the players will act to get out of an untenable situation but it is hard to blame them if they are reluctant to step off a cliff.

Still, the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned. At the bottom of the cliff is a system that will transfer money from the owners to the players – and more importantly – to the fans.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

18 Responses to “Off the Cliff”
  1. Fehr Time says:

    The biggest hurdle for the players to overcome would be the massive propaganda campaign that Bttman and his mainstream hockey media would put out there against the players. It would be just like 2004, except about 100X worse. Players will have to ignore (as they should) the siren songs about how ‘greedy’ they are and how they are destroying hockey, etc…

    • Tom says:

      Perhaps, but I think the biggest issue for the players is the chaos it would create. Eventually, I think it would shake out into a system like European football with relegation, but until eventually arrives, no one would know how it would work. The players would be dumping a system that made them rich for something undefined, something that should make them richer, but…

    • Gerald says:

      It never fails to amaze me that people think the “propaganda campaign” led by EITHER side has anything to do with the ability of the owners to succeed at the bargaining table.

      Here is the fact of the matter: if anything, the ONLY relevance it had the last time was that it was used to (a) demonstrate to the players the reality that the owners were united, and would continue to be so, and (b) allow the owners to bypass the then-dictator of the NHLPA and communicate the owner’s positions to the players directly.

      There has always been this idea that it placed some kind of public pressure on one side, and that public pressure played a role. Hardly.

      • Tom says:

        Here is the fact of the matter: if anything, the ONLY relevance it had the last time was that it was used to (a) demonstrate to the players the reality that the owners were united, and would continue to be so, and (b) allow the owners to bypass the then-dictator of the NHLPA and communicate the owner’s positions to the players directly..

        I don’t think this is true. The reason the league spent the two years leading up to the 2004 lockout slagging the game and the old CBA had nothing to do with either of these goals. The entire intent was to convince the fan that the lockout was necessary to “save hockey”. There was a legitimate concern that the lockout would cost the league fans after what happened to baseball.

        They would do it again this time if they thought it was necessary.

  2. PopsTwitTar says:

    Im missing the connection between the NHLPA and the market for teams. How does a truly free market for players lead to a 2nd team in Toronto? The CBA doesn’t limit expansion, the NHL Bylaws do. Are you suggesting that small market teams would collapse, and the NHL would bite the bullet and expand into these markets for revenue generation? I don’t know if I buy that.

    • Tom says:

      I think a small market team would eventually announce they were relocating to Toronto and when the league tried to stop them, they’d sue under the anti-competition law. Or some rich guy will award himself an expansion franchise and sue the league for entry.

      Why should a business have a monopoly over NHL hockey in a city? Baseball has an anti-trust exemption but other sports do not. Their behaviour as a cartel would probably not be legal in any other industry. Businesses are not supposed to be able to conspire together to keep out competition and thereby hurt the consumer.

      Antitrust legislation is intended to force competitors to compete for both employees and customers.

      • Jason says:

        Tom, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know if you are legally correct about whether someone could sue to be admitted into the NHL. But on moral grounds you’re surely incorrect.

        There’s no reason why someone couldn’t start a new league to compete with the NHL–including with franchises in Toronto, Vancouver, and so on. There’s no grounds on which the Maple Leafs or Canucks could stop that. But on what basis should a group of business partners be forced to admit new members?

        Yes the NHL owners compete with one another on the ice, but in the boardroom they are more like partners than competitors. The NHL as a whole competes (in a business sense) with other sports and with restaurants and movies and every other potential target of recreation dollars. I simply don’t see how it makes any kind of sense to say “you guys who have all voluntarily agreed to play in a group together, but you have to admit more members, sez me.” If I wanted to own a new Toronto NHL team–on what moral basis do I get to force the Leafs to play against me? Just because I want them to? Of course I could force them to compete against me in a business sense by starting a new World Hockey Association–but can I really force them to admit me into their business club? It sounds ridiculous to me.

        Of course I know literally zero about competition law, so perhaps legally you are correct. But on a moral basis I can’t agree.

        That said, this is all orthogonal to your main point: I agree that the players’ interests would be best served by union decertification. Would be very interesting indeed to see what happened after that. As a fan, I hope they don’t: personally I don’t care how much money the players make, and I’d rather have NHL hockey every year than a few years of league-wide uncertainty after decertification. My bet is the players and owners settle the current argle-bargle before the season is wiped out. We’ll see.

      • J21 says:

        Hi Tom,

        I actually *am* a competition lawyer… not an overly experienced one, but I do have some knowledge on antitrust in Canada. As all things in law, they are largely uncertain and largely untested, though, so in Canada at least, no one really knows too much beyond the hypothetical about how the law comes into play here.

        Under the Competition Act’s s. 48, professional sports are actually treated separately from the general cartel provisions, such that it is, at first blush, a criminal offence to — for the sake of brevity, let’s phrase it this way — “unreasonably” interfere in the free market operating in pro sports. However, the court must take into account constraints placed by international affiliations (essentially the IIHF in this case, which I don’t believe would come into play) and, here’s the big one, “desirability of maintaining a reasonable balance among the teams or clubs participating in the same league.”

        Even though I agree with Jason’s comment of 9:36 that NHL owners aren’t actually competitors with one another in a business sense because they are franchisees of the same business and have no interest in one another failing commercially (in fact I argue this point all the time when people try to overstate the role of market economics in North American pro sports), subsection 48(3) actually makes a point to say that the law in this case is applying to intra-league people.

        Now all this being said, there are some factors that mitigate against this section ever being applied. (Note also that this part of the Competition Act is only enforced by the Commissioner of Competition, so one cannot “sue” under it as such. Different story in the U.S. of course).

        This section was drafted many, many moons ago before all but the most egregious anti-competitive agreements (i.e. naked cartels) were decriminalized. S. 90.1 of the Competition Act now exists as a civil review mechanism for contracts and the like that make have anti-competitive consequences. Competition law was originally all criminal because of the Constitutional separation of powers in Canada, but over the years, as these principles have eroded a bit, the feds can get away with more and more legislating in what were traditionally provincial areas. With s. 90.1 now on the books, it would easily be the preferred part of the Act under which the Commissioner would act, and there it all comes down to whether competition is being lessened or prevented. It is more or less considered silly to contemplate jail time for anything but shady backroom conspiracies. Also notable, there has never, to my knowledge, been a case brought under s. 48.

        The other thing is that culturally (not legally), pro sports, and the NHL in particular in Canada, are treated as something more than business on the open marketplace, because we’re, again, watching purely for entertainment provided by the league itself, not to see who survives in a Schumpeterian dog-eat-dog marketplace. Put another way, when Team A knocks Team B out of the playoffs, they’re not all suddenly looking for jobs — it’s part of the show that we fans are quite deliberately paying to see, and the League gets a fair amount of discretion in how to run its own affairs and put on its show. Again, none of this is legal, it’s just that competition authorities (I think all of them) are reticent to interfere in what are essentially the internal affairs of a single business. (If a WHA came along, competition law would be in full effect, but pro sports are also kind of a natural monopoly as we have seen time and time again… duelling leagues and a talent split never really works out). Remember, Jim Balsillie (allegedly) filed a complaint not too long ago and it was ultimately not pursued.

        And given the wealth of other areas of investigation with a higher impact on the average consumer, it’s not likely that any action would ever be taken. Again: in Canada only. In the U.S. I would fully expect people to sue the pants off each other, but interesting that it hasn’t happened (e.g. why didn’t Balsillie sue the NHL in a New York court?)

        • Tom says:

          Thanks, J21.

          Even though I agree with Jason’s comment of 9:36 that NHL owners aren’t actually competitors with one another in a business sense because they are franchisees of the same business and have no interest in one another failing commercially (in fact I argue this point all the time when people try to overstate the role of market economics in North American pro sports), subsection 48(3) actually makes a point to say that the law in this case is applying to intra-league people.

          I agree that most teams are indifferent as to whether another fails commercially, the Leafs are not indifferent as to whether Toronto gets another team. And while we all know it would succeed, the Leafs would prefer a commercial failure if one was parachuted into Southern Ontario.

          I thought Basillie did file a complaint. The NHL received a favourable ruling because the league had relocation rules that precluded a Leaf veto. (This was a controversial point because the Leafs claimed they did have a veto or at least refused to acknowledge that they did not.) The whole thing was murky but this is how I read it based on what Gary said. The league could decide how many teams were in Toronto, but the Leafs could not.

          Under the Competition Act’s s. 48, professional sports are actually treated separately from the general cartel provisions, such that it is, at first blush, a criminal offence to — for the sake of brevity, let’s phrase it this way — “unreasonably” interfere in the free market operating in pro sports. However, the court must take into account constraints placed by international affiliations (essentially the IIHF in this case, which I don’t believe would come into play) and, here’s the big one, “desirability of maintaining a reasonable balance among the teams or clubs participating in the same league.”

          A crime, eh? That’s pretty crazy. I think we can all agree that there will be no criminal prosecution, but one can dream of Gary being clapped in irons… This does strike me as pretty meaningless. Anything could be pretty much allowed or disallowed.

          (Does it mean that all interference in the market has to be justified by competitive balance? Could something like entry level contracts be challenged? How can that interference be justified on the basis of balance?)

          Again, none of this is legal, it’s just that competition authorities (I think all of them) are reticent to interfere in what are essentially the internal affairs of a single business.

          I think this cultural aspect is a critical point and not just for the Commissioner and the fans. It is also the biggest barrier for the players to leap.

          And given the wealth of other areas of investigation with a higher impact on the average consumer, it’s not likely that any action would ever be taken.

          Can they avoid it? If someone files, a complaint with the Commissioner, doesn’t it have to be investigated? And once the Commissioner rules on the complaint, can’t the decision be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal?

          • J21 says:

            I agree that most teams are indifferent as to whether another fails commercially, the Leafs are not indifferent as to whether Toronto gets another team. And while we all know it would succeed, the Leafs would prefer a commercial failure if one was parachuted into Southern Ontario.

            They’re beyond indifferent — each NHL owner actually has an interest in seeing all the others succeed, don’t you think? It’s good for the league, and it’s good for revenue sharing. That is signal one that they are not competitors. And I’ll certainly agree that the Leafs don’t want another team in their territory, and would absolutely want to see such a thing fail. But keep in mind that if conduct is being reviewed under a different portion of the Competition Act (i.e. not the archaic, never-used professional sports provisions), then you also lose the stipulation that persons within the same league are, for all intents and purposes, competitors under the provision in question — this is unique to s. 48. And once you’ve lost that, you reopen the quagmire about who, exactly, is competing. No doubt the Leafs wouldn’t like a second NHL team on their doorstep (and it is economically inefficient that there isn’t one, obviously), but they would both be franchisees of the NHL. I am actually far from certain how this is dealt with under antitrust law, but it is definitely more grey than the black and white case of, e.g., NHL versus WHA. One McDonald’s manager wouldn’t want to see a second franchise opened a block away, as that would undoubtedly cut into his/her profits, and I’m pretty sure (but again, far from certain) McDonald’s is within their rights to take steps to ensure the happiness of their managers by regulating the situation.

            I thought Basillie did file a complaint. The NHL received a favourable ruling because the league had relocation rules that precluded a Leaf veto. (This was a controversial point because the Leafs claimed they did have a veto or at least refused to acknowledge that they did not.) The whole thing was murky but this is how I read it based on what Gary said. The league could decide how many teams were in Toronto, but the Leafs could not.

            Someone filed a complaint — this is widely assumed (for “duh” reasons) to be Balsillie, but can never really be confirmed. The Competition Bureau found no evidence of a veto, although as you say, it is murky, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the NHL had completely conflicting documentation on the issue. Note that this complaint was not reviewed under the provisions of the Act we’ve been talking about, but rather “abuse of a dominant position,” s. 79 of the Act, which is where a large company takes steps to undercut its competitors in ways other than competing against them in a commercial sense. Probably for reasons linked to my McDonald’s comparison above about franchise management, the Bureau found that the NHL’s policies “regarding transfers of ownership and relocations of teams serve to further legitimate business interests, such as preserving team rivalries, attracting a broader audience, and encouraging investment in sports facilities by local municipalities.” In other words, managing their own affairs.

            A crime, eh? That’s pretty crazy. I think we can all agree that there will be no criminal prosecution, but one can dream of Gary being clapped in irons… This does strike me as pretty meaningless. Anything could be pretty much allowed or disallowed.

            Yeah, like I said, that’s a relic from when the feds felt they needed to address virtually anything under criminal law to avoid having it struck down as provincial jurisdiction by the courts. (If you want a laugh, check out the criminal Canadian Football Act that the government tabled in 1974 in an attempt to prevent the World Football League from coming to Toronto. This was recycled in the Senate as recently as 2008 by former Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell under the threat of NFL expansion). Since the ’70s or ’80s this has changed a fair bit, and a lot of formerly criminal law has been moving into civil review territory. And yes, the escape clause there does render it pretty much a discretionary call, and virtually assures that no prosecution would ever be brought — as, indeed, it never has.

            (Does it mean that all interference in the market has to be justified by competitive balance? Could something like entry level contracts be challenged? How can that interference be justified on the basis of balance?)

            If s. 48 were used, then, yes, there would be some sort of “competitive balance test” that the courts would have to come up with. Pure conjecture, but I would think something like entry level contracts would still be allowed to stand on the same basis as having a draft at all — it’s part of allowing cycles of improvement to take place, such that poorer teams still get a shot at high-end talent at the start of their careers, to allow them to become desirable locations for other players, etc. I think it wouldn’t be too hard to come up with something, especially when the Crown is being held to a criminal standard of proof.

            I think this cultural aspect is a critical point and not just for the Commissioner and the fans. It is also the biggest barrier for the players to leap.

            Agreed. There are a lot of areas that, even though antitrust authorities have jurisdiction to probe, you just know they never will. Very small matters make up the majority of this category, but also sensitive topics that could be seen as overtly political, or religious in nature, etc.

            Can they avoid it? If someone files, a complaint with the Commissioner, doesn’t it have to be investigated? And once the Commissioner rules on the complaint, can’t the decision be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeal?

            Nope to the first part — the Commissioner receives thousands of complaints a year, (a lot of which are groundless or based on mistaken understandings of the law). If she had to open an inquiry for each one, the Bureau would need the budget and staffing of a small country. Like all law enforcement agencies, she has to pick her battles, so she will generally go for the biggest issues seen as affecting the most people. There is a procedure under the Act in which six Canadian residents can actually compel her to open an inquiry, rather than just making a complaint, but it comes with pretty serious evidentiary requirements, and the opening of an inquiry is itself no guarantee that you get what you want.

            When the Commissioner actually takes a case before the Competition Tribunal (for non-criminal matters), these decisions — made by a third-party quasi-judicial body — can indeed be appealed to the Court of Appeal. But that is a long way off a simple complaint.

            Tom, is there somewhere I can drop you an e-mail, by the way?

          • Tom says:

            They’re beyond indifferent — each NHL owner actually has an interest in seeing all the others succeed, don’t you think? It’s good for the league, and it’s good for revenue sharing.

            I don’t think it is a very big deal to the other teams unless they get into a Phoenix situation. There are always a few teams in trouble. They eventually relocate or they start winning and turn it around. There is a connection between financial success and winning on the ice. Most NHL owners would prefer the other guy has a poor team even if it causes them financial problems.

            The NHL doesn’t tell us much about the actual revenue sharing being done, but given the rules it seems likely that the move from Atlanta to Winnipeg did not reduce revenue sharing. Because the amount to be shared is a fixed percentage of revenues, the money just went to a different team.

            Finally, if teams were beyond indifferent, they would do more revenue sharing.

            Tom, is there somewhere I can drop you an e-mail, by the way?

            tom@canuckscorner.com or tom.benjamin@shaw.ca

  3. Gerald says:

    I hesitate to write anything about a circumstance which has less than zero practical chance of happening and is thus just a theoretical discussion, but I do want to offer a few counterpoints on this purely academic item, just for the heck of it:

    1. I am puzzled as to where this “strong evidence” of salaries going up across the Board comes from. Are you suggesting the ESPN survey supports that contention?

    2. As to who or what drives unionization, I think your contention that it is driven by owners is contrary to history in just about any sport you care to name. Unions were driven by players, not unions.

    3. As to your contention that owners now sue to keep unions whole, that is a misreading of what happens and has actually happened. Union decertifications over recent decades in sports have never, not once, been anything other than blatantly transparent negotiating tactics driven by the unions themselves, and owners have countered them on that basis in court accordingly. They are attempts by unions – not players, but unions themselves – to introduce uncertainty into the bargaining process in an improper attempt to benefit at the eventual bargaining table, rather than a true attempt to release the players from the shackles of unionization. This was most clearly exposed in the recent round of NFL collective bargaining, and it ultimately failed. Players know that business certainty is a valuable commodity for leagues – much, much more so for players (whose careers are transitory) than for the league (whose position is designed to be permanent or at least longterm) – and the players have tried to exploit that asymmetry, to no avail.

    4. Your suggestion about players and minimum salaries is wishful thinking, although we will never know. It could be subjected to a simple test, though. Perhaps someone can ask Don Fehr if his intent is to remove it form the CBA, since it is supposedly so meaningless and clutters up the CBA and distorts the marketplace.

    Somehow I doubt he would agree.

    5. As to which “fans” would benefit (it seems from this post that only fans in certain markets count),that may be a matter of timing in any such endeavour. Had this argument played out any time before the last 10-12 years, Vancouver would have been without a team, never mind TWO (!) teams. The renaissance in Vancouver would never have happened. EDM would never have a team. Lots of currently successful franchises would not exist. On the other hand, though, I and a bunch of lawyer friends would have probably sued to get a “Thursday night at 11:30″ caliber team entered into the NHL for a year, just on a lark. You might have been able to get your buds in there, too, and you could hire a competition lawyer on the promise that he can play LW on the first line in exchange for his legal services. Not too good for business, but heck, why not do it just so you can say you played a year in the NHL! (well, other than the fact that by then there will be no cachet in playing in what would be a joke of a league, but heck, this is only a theoretical argument anyway).

    6. Tom, I would think that you have been around the block enough to know that fans would not get a dollar back. A little thing called price stickiness might have something to say about that. ThHa said, if you and I could get our teams in the NHL, prices might conceivably go down,since there would be no “league” in the modern understanding of the word. Crappier product = lower prices, but that is not terribly beneficial for consumers.

    7. I am not sure that this post accurately reflects competition law as it relates to sports leagues, particularly the ability of teams like TML to protect their areas.

    8. If you really did want to think about this seriously (although I suggest it is not really useful), you may want to consider that the owners would have a response to such a tactic other than “Good heavens, we are vanquished! Let’s stay in this business model that will cause us to destroy the value of our equity!!” They would have quite effective options in response.

    9. This type of discussion often degenerates into comparison of NA leagues and European soccer. That is a poor, unpersuasive comparison – different market, different circumstances, different history, different dyamic specific to the sport, different legal systems – in short, different everything.

    Damnit, I got sucked into writing a bunch.

    • Tom says:

      2. As to who or what drives unionization, I think your contention that it is driven by owners is contrary to history in just about any sport you care to name. Unions were driven by players, not unions.

      True. Until the Messersmith decision. Once free agency was established law, CBA negotiations became mostly about restrictions to free agency and ways to restrain salary in the name of competitive balance. They have been largely successful.

      Are you honestly trying to make the case that teams would actually spend less on player salaries absent the CBA? That’s absurd. The CBA limits the amounts teams can spend collectively, it limits what the teams can spend individually, and it limits what individuals can make.

      Union decertifications over recent decades in sports have never, not once, been anything other than blatantly transparent negotiating tactics driven by the unions themselves

      True again, but so what? If decertification of the union was good for the employer, the employer cheers and cuts everybody’s salary. Why didn’t the league go, “Yahoo” like every other employer would when the Union collapsed, and gratefully accept the fact that there was no longer a union?

      The reason they did not do this is obvious. Player salaries would go up because the sports CBA restrains wages. Duh. Your business certainty argument is laughable. This is labour market economics we are discussing here, is it not? Can you make an argument that is consistent with how labour markets actually work?

      Your suggestion about players and minimum salaries is wishful thinking, although we will never know. It could be subjected to a simple test, though. Perhaps someone can ask Don Fehr if his intent is to remove it form the CBA, since it is supposedly so meaningless and clutters up the CBA and distorts the marketplace.

      Wishful thinking? Why would I wish for anything in my thinking? What kind of stupid assertion is that? Address the actual points I made:

      If the minimum wage was actually acting as a floor, why don’t, say, 30% of the players make the minimum wage? Or why in 2003-04, when the minimum salary was $175,000, was the lowest salary about $375,000? I think a labour economist would call that compelling evidence, not wishful thinking.

      Give Donald Fehr an extra percentage of revenue and he will let Bettman set the minimum wherever Bettman wants. For sure.

      Had this argument played out any time before the last 10-12 years, Vancouver would have been without a team, never mind TWO (!) teams. The renaissance in Vancouver would never have happened. EDM would never have a team. Lots of currently successful franchises would not exist. On the other hand, though, I and a bunch of lawyer friends would have probably sued to get a “Thursday night at 11:30? caliber team entered into the NHL for a year, just on a lark.

      Please. You expect anybody to take this shit seriously?

      7. I am not sure that this post accurately reflects competition law as it relates to sports leagues, particularly the ability of teams like TML to protect their areas.

      Neither am I. I don’t think anyone else knows exactly how it would work out either. Me, I’m so tired of the assholes who run this business that I’d be delighted to find out. I’m pretty sure the NHL could keep a bunch of beer league lawyers out of their league. The question is whether an Acquilini could keep a Gaglardi out. I’ll bet a good lawyer could make the case that Acquilini actually had to rent his arena to Gaglardi. Don’t railroads have to lease their track to competitors?

      8. If you really did want to think about this seriously (although I suggest it is not really useful), you may want to consider that the owners would have a response to such a tactic other than “Good heavens, we are vanquished! Let’s stay in this business model that will cause us to destroy the value of our equity!!” They would have quite effective options in response.

      I’d say they would have three options. They could offer the players something to convince them to recertify. They could fight the court cases and hope they win the anti-trust cases. Or they could restructure the hockey business to keep making money. What else? I’d bet on them first trying to get the players back on board and when that failed, restructuring the business.

      This type of discussion often degenerates into comparison of NA leagues and European soccer. That is a poor, unpersuasive comparison – different market, different circumstances, different history, different dyamic specific to the sport, different legal systems – in short, different everything.

      What does this mean? Of course it is different. Different everything would be great. Different everything would be the objective.

      • Gerald says:

        Tom, I am prepared to reply to everything you wrote above.

        Before I do, however, I want to address something in your post:

        “Are you honestly trying to make the case that teams would actually spend less on player salaries absent the CBA? That’s absurd.”

        “Duh. Your business certainty argument is laughable.”

        “What kind of stupid assertion is that?”

        “Please. You expect anybody to take this shit seriously?”

        What is up with that tone? My response to your post was respectful and intended to drive a reasonable discussion between two observers on a substantive matter of mutual interest. Your reply provides SOME reply in that tone, riddled by dismissive snark and nastiness. You seem to reflect an idea not simply that we disagree, but that I don’t know what I am talking about.

        Is that your contention?

        If it is what you intended to say, okay then, just say so and I will take your insulting reply in the way that I guess you intended. If not, then I would appreciate you clarifying and/or withdrawing the above comments, and we can move on.

        • Tom says:

          Gerald, you are right. I apologise.

          I am so pissed off at the assholes who are planning to inflict yet another lockout on us because they don’t think they have enough money, I can hardly see straight. And I have a great deal of difficulty from separating you, your occupation, and your positions on these issues from them.

          • beingbobbyorr says:

            I get your vitriol directed at Gary & the BoG, but, at the end of the day, consumers (read: fans) usually get what they deserve, and given how quickly they/we came back in the fall of 2005, they/we have all but given them carte blanche for another work stoppage.

  4. Skip Martin says:

    I have been examinating out many of your posts and i must say pretty nice stuff. I will surely bookmark your site.

Trackbacks

Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. [...] CANUCKS CORNER: Tom Benjamin rebuts  a reader’s claim decertifying the NHLPA would be a bad idea for lesser players. It’s unlikely the PA will decertify during this round of CBA negotiations or even afterward, but Benjamin makes a solid case as to why it might be a good idea for the players. Could the Red Wings come to regret Franzen’s long-term contract? [...]



Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!