NHL Lockout 2012: Gary Bettman Needs to Concede in CBA Negotiations

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer ISeptember 12, 2012

June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on stage at the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has long drawn the ire from hockey fans, ever since the 1994-1995 lockout.

Now, he's asking players to take a salary cut of about 9.7 percent, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Somehow, I don't think this is going to go over well for him if the NHL enters lockout mode.

We can debate all we want about the money professional athletes make, but, at the end of the day, this is still a business. How would you feel if your boss declared you would be receiving 10 percent less next year?

Keep in mind, the NHL's first proposal had players taking a 24 percent cut. That's not exactly "making concessions" on the league's part.

NHL Players' Association chief Don Fehr appears steadfast in his defense of the players. He's shown in the past that he's willing to battle until the end. That means this could be a nasty, drawn-out lockout if Bettman doesn't scale back his demands.

And make no mistake about it—this is on Bettman if the next NHL season is compromised.

The players have made concessions. They have publicly said they will play for less money if Bettman agrees to revenue sharing. That's not too much to ask for, given it very well could create a more level playing field, like in the NFL.

But Bettman has called it a non-issue, per the Inquirer.

There's being a businessman, and then there's being plain stubborn. If you don't work for others at times, they won't work for you.

A commissioner's job is to unite the league, not divide it. If Bettman hasn't learned to work with the players and the fans at this point, I don't know if he ever will.


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