NBA players believe they are fighting for something right, fighting for a principle of fairness that generations of players before them had to struggle for. They don’t want to give that up, and plenty of players even still will tell you they’d miss a season to fight for it.
Which is exactly what the NHL players were saying seven years ago.
Now? It’s a different story. NHL players by and large are telling NBA guys to get a deal done, reports Jerry Zgoda at the Star Tribune.
“I don’t think that’s the thing most guys look back and say they’re ticked off about, that they missed a year of paychecks,” said (Minnesota forward Matt) Cullen, who like many others played in Europe that season. “I don’t really think that’s the issue. I mean, they feel like it was a missed opportunity. You just don’t know how long you have to play this game and you’re missing a whole year for something that seems, from the outside anyway, like it should be straightforward to resolve.
“It just seems foolish to waste a whole year on negotiating something. I know it’s a fact of life and that’s the way it is sometimes. But as a player, you’re thinking, ‘Man, how can they not get this resolved?’ when we’ve got a whole season at stake, we’ve got tons of fans and there’s jobs lost in arenas around the league?”
We’ve already told you that Bill Guerin — one of the NHL union’s VPs and hardliners back in the day — has said it was not worth it. He lost $9 million in salary (plus NHL salaries were rolled back 24 percent on future deals), money he never recovered. And as a veteran his career was never the same afterwards.
He reiterated that position.
“Get a deal done. I learned a big lesson: It’s not a partnership, it’s their league, and you are going to play when they want. It’s not worth it to any of them to burn games or to burn an entire year. Burning a year was ridiculous.”