By Ken Reed

Dave Zirin recently had an enlightening column in the Nation about the current NHL lockout, and the similarities with recent lockouts in the NFL, NBA, and MLB. He highlighted what appears to be a coordinated industry-wide effort by the owners in each league to abandon the annoying collective bargaining process and break the unions.

“On four occasions since August 2011, pro sports owners have locked their publicly subsidized stadium doors, sent stadium workers home and stopped play as usual,” wrote Zirin.  “This is not coincidence or happenstance.  It’s a coordinated management offensive that has reverberations far beyond the playing field.”

The law firm Proskauer Rose represents ownership in all four major men’s sports leagues.  This unified front across the pro sports industry hurts every sports stakeholder group — except owners, of course.

“It’s been great for owners and awful for players, fans, stadium workers and tax payers,” wrote Zirin.

The commissioners of each league can’t help us.  Since Fay Vincent got pushed out by MLB owners in 1992, we haven’t had a pro sports league commissioner who gives a whit about protecting the best interests of the game.  Today’s commissioners are interested in protecting the best interests of the owners.  And that’s it.

Need additional proof regarding the intentions of the league commissioners?  As Zirin pointed out, NBA commissioner David Stern and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman both used to be partners at Proskauer Rose.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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