The Invincible M.A.E. (harleymae) wrote,
The Invincible M.A.E.

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The L word

No, not that one. I haven't really talked about the lockout, because I'm trying to pretend it doesn't exist. Shh.

But if a lockout did exist, I uhh, well I don't want to push this article on you. Read it if you feel like it. :P

Labeling players is wrong
By Kara Yorio - SportingNews

Stop. Stop the e-mails. Stop the Internet bulletin board messages. Stop making those comments in conversation. Stop lashing out at the players because they make more money than any of us ever could imagine.

They also happen to have the kind of talent that none of us will ever know -- the kind of talent very few people in the world have. They have the kind of talent that makes people want to pay to see it.

They play a game, but it is work. No, the life of an NHL player is not difficult by the standards of people who worry about paying the mortgage or getting the best health insurance. But the players work hard to be good at what they do. They endure physical pain and the constant possibility of a career-ending injury. Their careers are short -- according to the union, the average NHL career lasts about 5 1/2 years. They train to be hockey players for most of their lives, the kind of time that keeps them from learning how to do anything else, limiting their options when those careers are over.

It is not easy to type these words. Fingers momentarily lock, and gut instinct urges them to hit other keys, tell another story.

After all, this group of players includes men who do dangerous and dirty things on the ice, then try to act as if they had done nothing that bad and shouldn't be held accountable for a violent action because it came in the heat of the moment. This group includes players who hide from reporters or react angrily or condescendingly to legitimate questions. This group includes some who have complained about kids waiting for autographs or about an evening planned with fans. Like any other group, there are good and bad among NHL players, but generalizations are dangerous, and labeling players based on this lockout is wrong.

This is also a group that includes charitable men. Some of the children of Dallas probably know Mike Modano through the work of his foundation more than his on-ice production. Rangers defenseman Joel Bouchard has put together a group of Quebec players, including Jose Theodore, J.S. Giguere, Simon Gagne, Martin Lapointe and Alex Tanguay, to play games to benefit the Ronald McDonald House and other Quebec charities.

Are the players greedy? Some of them are.

Are they out of touch with reality? What's the point of having all that money if you remain concerned about daily life struggles?

Players, though, need to understand that the health of a business depends on the connection between revenues and costs, including salaries. And, yes, they need to understand the league is not healthy and will not fare well if a whole season is lost.

But do the players deserve to bear the brunt of fans' anger during this lockout? No.

First of all, it's a lockout -- not a strike. The owners have stopped the season, not the players. Play could continue under the old collective bargaining agreement until a new one is negotiated. The players want that. They profited from the old agreement. The fact is if it were up to the players, they would be playing.

Instead, some are in Europe, staying in shape and playing for much less money than they would be getting here. Instead, some are home, resting long-suffering bodies or rehabilitating injuries suffered last season.

This is not a plea for sympathy or support for the players. But they deserve an honest representation. As a group, they deserve to be free of the "greedy" generalization. This time, it does not wholly apply.
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