October 1, 2012 1 Comment
We are pleased to introduce the first Hockey in Society Roundtable, a new feature at Hockey in Society. Roundtables will present brief commentaries from Hockey in Society contributors on pressing or timely issues within hockey and its culture, with the aim of presenting a diverse range of critical viewpoints on the topic under discussion.
Simon Darnell – “Cartel Contradictions”
The current NHL lockout – like most labour disputes in professional sports – is so off-putting for the ways that it co-opts us into caring about a fight between the extraordinarily rich. This is ‘Billionaires vs. Millionaires,’ goes the familiar refrain, and the average fan is alienated given how impossible it is to relate to the stand-off.
Still, this doesn’t stop fans from trying to do just that. For example, if you read the comments posted on any e-story of the lockout over the past few weeks (I know, but I can’t help myself), you undoubtedly read something like this:
“Imagine if you owned a company and the employees took home 57% of the revenue. You wouldn’t stand for it!”
Followed shortly thereafter by something like:
“Yeah, well imagine if your boss gave you a raise and then demanded it back three months later!”
Applying real-world labour politics to the lockout in this way would seem to be a logical heuristic exercise, save for one important detail: The ‘real-world’ doesn’t apply here. In fact, the enduring legacy of the lockout should be to remind all of us 9-5ers of how dramatically far removed we are from the labour structures of professional hockey.