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Editorial: Open Letter to Gary Bettman

December 7th, 2012 at 12:21 AM
By Frank Vajcner

Dear Gary Bettman:

If you were employed elsewhere, you would most likely be out of a job after your actions tonight.

I have been patient with you throughout this lockout and other years (a lot more patient than other fans and players), but tonight was the final straw for me.

I realize that I have preached about how I think players calling you names is a bad thing. While I still feel that way, I have finally realized why they have been taking shots at you.

I will not stoop to the level of certain players and fans who have called you names (some of which I cannot post on here) or make any empty threats. Instead, I will be speaking on behalf of those players and fans in a much more professional manner.

First, you ought to know that negotiating is NOT placing a proposal on the table for the NHLPA for them to discuss, and surprising everyone by saying it's your way or the highway when they try to counter to a smaller degree. The NHLPA had ACCEPTED your proposal on KEY AREAS, but you essentially spat in their face when they tried to counter on other areas. You're really that serious about having player contracts be five years maximum, and that the CBA last for ten years?

Yes, I acknowledge that the owners made a concession on the "make whole" provision by going up to $300 million from $211 million. But from what I saw on twitter via Bob McKenzie, Renaud Lavoie, and Pierre LeBrun, among other trusted reporters, the NHLPA wanted to move toward an eight year CBA with an opt out after six (up from five years straight up), and player contracts to be limited to eight years (down from ten). The union was moving toward your direction, and this is how you say thanks for that?!

And to even pull the same "make whole" off the table when the players had agreed to $300 million. That is the equivalent of promising your kids you will reward them if they make the honor roll, and then punish them if they don't get all "A's."

Also, having one of your men leave Donald Fehr a voicemail saying that you rejected the PA's counteroffer was UNPROFESSIONAL AND COWARDLY. If you don't have the guts to face the NHLPA like a man, then you should find another job

For the aforementioned reasons, along with many others, you do not deserve to be the NHL commissioner. You showed a total disregard for integrity tonight.

Finally, you have also taken away my opportunity to cover NHL games this season. I was hired as a Detroit Red Wings beat writer by Sports Media 101 this past summer, and I was looking forward to covering the hockey team I have loved since I was a little kid. Now I'm just stuck writing about how you and Don Fehr can't seem to stay committed to working on a new CBA. Especially when members of the Board of Governors tell Pierre LeBrun that they cannot believe a new deal is not done by now.

For the record, cut the pity party you put on for a press conference tonight. What you said and the way you said it is nowhere close to what the truth is.

I hope you're proud of yourself for stabbing all the NHL players, media personnel, coaches, organizational employees, and fans in the back. I feel no sympathy toward you when the fans say they are done with the NHL.

Tags: Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Donald Fehr, Gary Bettman, Hockey, NHL, NHLPA

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