With the predictable NHL Lockout underway, the even-more-predictable self-victimization of the fans is in full effect. As Artistry pointed out yesterday, we are not victims and we need not choose sides. This experience will be like going to the DMV -- you know it's going to be miserable and you can throw as big of a tantrum as you want, but the chain-smoking woman in charge of getting you a parking permit is not foregoing her 15 minute break. So you sit, and you wait.
Having said that, let's complain!
One of my personal pet peeves is when players in any sport accuse the owners of not abiding by contracts that they sign. It happens most often in football where owners cut players at their leisure (or even just for fun), but it's been a recent talking point of the NHL players. They argue that by asking for a rollback of salaries, the owners are not honoring the very contracts the signed. Exhibit A: Brooks Laich.
(for the Twitter uninitiated, read the bottom Tweet first).
There is only one problem with Laich's position: He's talking about the wrong contract.
There is a contract that governs each Player Contract -- it's called the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The CBA sets the terms of whether a Player Contract is "guaranteed" -- like contracts in real life -- or something less than that. And when the CBA expires, the owners and players are free to bargain again over whether the next set of Player Contracts are guaranteed, or even whether current Player Contracts can be reduced.
Laich is right that it's his fault if he signs a bad contract; he's just talking about the wrong contract. The bad contract that the players signed in the NFL and NHL is the respective CBAs, the ones that say players are stuck with their salaries but owners have some recourse to get out of them, you know, like when the CBA expires.
This isn't to pick on Brooks Laich. He surely represents the sentiment of a lot of players. But while it undoubtedly sucks for NFL players when they get cut or for NHL players when they are forced to take a rollback, that's exactly what is allowed under the contract they signed. One that undoubtedly ended in a handshake.