Barack And Bettman: The Similarities Between The NHL Owners And Obama
The two great issues of our day are the “fiscal cliff” and the NHL lockout. Ok, I may be overstating the importance of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations but you get the point.
Aside from both being agita inducing they are both exercises in ego and arrogance.
Start with the “fiscal cliff” talks in DC. Obama, fresh from his reelection campaign, has decided that he was elected king and not President. He has flatly stated he’s not willing to negotiate at any part of his one sided opening list of demands which amount to total surrender by the GOP, oh and, they will have to pay him for the privilege of surrendering in the process.
Not only does Obama want $1.6 billion in new revenues, he wants them via tax rate hikes. He won’t accept these revenue increases in the form of closing “loopholes” or eliminating “tax expenditures”. He also won’t talk about cutting spending in any serious fashion. In fact, he wants MORE spending from this supposed exercise in deficit and debt reduction.
In tribute for accepting the GOP’s complete destruction he wants them to sweeten the deal by giving him sole authority to increase the debt. You know, the debt we’re supposedly paying down with these tax hikes.
Meanwhile in New York City, NHL owners fronted by Commissioner Garry “Lockout” Bettmann, are increasingly annoyed at the NHLPA and its Executive Director Donald Fehr for refusing to completely surrender.
The NHL negotiations have been a series of one-sided give-backs by the players.
Under the previous system (which the NHL won after cancelling an entire season to get a salary cap that would give them what they called “cost certainty”) league revenues shot through the roof. Seeing all this money going to the players (players received 57% of the “Hockey Related Revenue” under the old CBA) and the NFL and NBA getting new labor deals that saw their players share of revenue capped at around 50%, the NHL immediately said, “give us that too!”.
Eventually the players caved in and agreed to a 50/50 split of HRR but wanted existing contracts to be honored. “You’re crazy” said owners who went on massive spending sprees hours before the old deal expired. “No you stupid players, we will not honor the agreements we signed with you. Now take this offer or you’ll get nothing and like it”.
Oh and as payment for accepting massive givebacks from players the league is also demanding a cap on contract lengths, a massively long term for a new CBA (10 years) and lots of other “minor” things.
In return for all of this the NHL might chip in a bit more for pensions and possibly limit how much skating teams can make players do in training camp.
So hockey fans who side with the owners and want the union to cave so the season can get going…don’t bitch about Obama’s tactics. He could very well have learned at the foot of Garry Bettman.