Leave Evander Kane alone. And the rest of the locked out players, too, while you are at it.
I read just about any blog on hockey that I can and typically even force myself to read the first 25 or 30 comments on each story to try and get a pulse on what other fans are thinking. Just like everyone else, I generally just roll my eyes, laugh, shrug, click a few thumbs ups and thumbs down and then go on my merry little way.
But the vitriol that has been flung at Kane since posting a photo of himself with fat stacks of cash on Twitter while in Las Vegas is madness.
To me, this isn't about what the NHLPA and NHL are currently fighting over. In most accounts, we see that the PA is fighting for a few measly percentage points of the pie and wonder why the players just can't suck it up. Fair enough, despite the fact that each percentage point represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in player salaries.
In refusing to buckle on those numbers, though, some seem to view the players as the greedy ones here. Again, fair enough, I guess. At this point, both sides look like crooks to me.
Yet somehow, through all of this mess, not only have players lost money—both to the lockout itself and the concessions it has made to the NHL during negotiations—but they have lost the right to do what they want with the money that they do have.
I read a story earlier in the week about a particular player buying a new car, and the comments sections were again flooded with the "if you can buy a new car, why can't you end the lockout" logic. But these people—most people, it seems—are totally missing a big point here.
This isn't a player strike. This is a league lockout.
The players didn't walk out on their teams, and they are not the ones holding owners hostage. The players are ready to play. They Are ready to come back and help revive the downtown areas that are currently suffering because there is no NHL hockey.
At the negotiation table, it seems to be the blind leading the blind, sure. But why all the outrage toward players who are spending the money that they have earned?
Kane's contract was extended on the eve of the lockout, and as far as I could tell, Winnipeg Jets fans were relieved that they were retaining their rising, young star. We all saw the numbers. We all have access to these things via capgeek or other sources.
Kane signed on the dotted line for $31.5 million over six years.
So I'll ask a frank question: What the hell else do you think a guy with this much money does with it? These people don't train their lives away and give up what they give up to not make that kind of cash.
Professional athletes make a lot of money. Why people continue to be surprised by this is beyond me. Perhaps it is just a general reflection of our aggravated middle-class culture responding to money in general. "He plays a game!" we say. "I deliver the mail! The country would shut down without me!"
If you think about it, however, guys like E. Kane and Patrick Kane are just extensions of their idiotic owners and GMs who, for the life of themselves, can't keep themselves out of hot water when it comes to over-spending on contracts.
What, you would turn down the huge kinds of deals that the players sign every year? You're not fooling anyone if you say you would, except maybe for yourself. So why fault the players for having the money that they were offered?
And more importantly, why fault them for trying to keep it?
Let's say your boss walks in and says he needs to cut 10 percent of your salary for the good of the company, to save the company roughly 10 days after giving you a performance-based raise. You're telling me you'd lay it down, no questions asked? No fight whatsoever? That you wouldn't immediately pull up Monster.com and start looking for a new place of employment?
A lot of people in the United States are unemployed right now and don't have two pennies to rub together. I understand that. But these players and their contracts have absolutely nothing to do with that. It's a logical fallacy to aim the disappointments and disillusions of your own lives toward guys that have made it to the level that Kane has.
People tend to flaunt what they have. Log onto your Facebook right now and tomorrow (Christmas Day here in the United States) you will see nothing but pictures of new Kindle Fires and iPods and computers—things that people were given for Christmas. I'm not saying that it's right. I'm just saying that your best friend from college or girlfriend do the exact same things.
This is just what people do.
So why the hate for Evander Kane?
Was the photo a bit on the tone-deaf side? Absolutely. Would I have advised against the post? Sure.
But the next time you find yourself seething at the players for having this money, despite the lockout being over money, remember the one key thing.
This is a lockout. It is not a strike.