First off let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of yours and a die hard fan of the Islanders. I almost wish that I didn't type this and that you don't read this because part of it is going to sound like I am attacking you and I truly do not mean for it to be that way. I am sincerely sorry that it may come off like that, but if you do read this, please read through the end. I read your blog today about the fans saying the players are "greedy" "stupid" and what not. It was a very interesting read that brought up some interesting points that I would like to clarify or inspect further, hopefully providing insight from a fans perspective. I also never condone fans calling players greedy or stupid although I am sure I have done it as well as others just out of pure frustration of the situation. Please do not take this response as an attack, but rather a perspective because I would never personally try to attack you as I am a huge fan.
Your hockey salary over the next few years is $3,133,333. My salary is less than 0.5%. That's less than HALF of ONE percent of your salary. What do I spend my money on? I spend my money on Islanders jerseys, Islanders shirts, Islanders license plates, Islanders pictures for my room, and most importantly tickets for Islanders games. I don't have a ton of money to go out and do whatever I like whenever I want. However, while I try to survive on what I make, I get the most satisfaction of knowing that there is hockey on t.v. to get me through. I live my life wondering if I can afford to go out on a certain night.
Now I understand where the players are coming from. They are fighting for what they believe they deserve. I also understand that you guys offered a 50-50 split and I applaud that and I am very happy to hear that you would make that sacrifice down from 57%. However, your blog stated some interesting things. You stated that hockey players have very short careers and that you are fighting for the rights of future players. Here is the problem with this statement. Firstly, even if hockey players have short careers, that short career will earn the player more money than most of us fans will earn in an entire lifetime of working, so its hard for us to sympathize with this statement. Secondly, you say that its not all about the money and that you are sticking up for future players. How has that worked out? Is that the same thing the players were saying during the last lockout and the time before that? Standing up? You took a stand for 57% during the last CBA and now you are considered standing up for 50%? So you believe you guys have lost 7% in value? If there are other issues besides money regarding player safety or the betterment of the league then I applaud your stand, unfortunately fans do not always hear this side of the story and because of the economy always jump to the money issue, we hope you can understand why.
The next question I have is, does it really matter? If you win this battle with the owners it won't matter because after this CBA expires there will just be another lockout. Now I do not wish to call you stupid or greedy, but merely want to answer your question of how players can be greedy and stupid. Some fans consider the players greedy because we are jealous at how we need to work two jobs (I'm currently working 4 jobs) just to earn scraps, while you get to do what you love every day and get paid millions and yet you are fighting just to keep a few extra dollars that honestly won't make much of an impact in your lifestyle (again I realize there are more issues than money, but this is how your average fan will see it because we are struggling so much). So you ask how can the players be greedy and stupid? Well, the stupid part comes in because its important to pay attention to history. The players are fighting for future NHL players. I ran all the numbers and if the season locks out completely you will lose all the money you are fighting for over the entire 6 year length of the CBA based on the average NHL salary. Then as history has shown once that CBA expires there will be another lockout where the players will again lose more money by not playing the game. Hence, fans can see the players as greedy because they don't want to lose a few bucks and stupid because they are losing more in the short term and will lose even more in the long term. Now do we believe it is right for the owners to be taking that money away from you. Definitely not, but is it worth locking out over? This depends on the other issues that are on the table.
Now do I believe you shouldn't be taking a stand, I definitely will NOT say that. I believe that it is important to take a stand and fight for the better development of the game and things such as players safety. These are extremely important issues and fans would not blame the players for taking these stands. The problem is that fans keep sitting through one lockout after the other and this is our little joy, getting to watch you guys play. We aren't rich and watching hockey is one of the things that puts a little hope and joy back into our lives. There's nothing better than coming home from a 12 hour work day finally sitting down, throwing on the t.v., and getting to see Micheal Grabner scoring a breakaway goal. So here is my plea for you, don't fight over money, fight over the betterment of the game, so that it is better for you on the ice and better for the fans watching at home. Fans get so lost in money in this economy and how hard we are struggling to get by that sometimes we can lose focus and attack the rich and I have probably been guilty of this and for that I apologize. We as fans don't have much and all we want is to watch hockey because you, the players, make it fun for us. So when you are in those negotiation rooms, don't just fight for the future NHL players, fight for the fans as well and remember how much of an impact you can make on our lives by trying to resolve that, even if it means putting a few issues on the back burner until the next CBA. So here is a wish to end the lockout and get back to enjoying the game we all love so much. End the lockout! Lets go Islanders!
You are awesome Grabner and I hope you did not read this with malicious intent. I am sorry fans always think about money so much, but it is hard for us not too. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope you have gained some perspective from our point of view as I know I did of yours from reading your blog.