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Is it Just Me, or Does NHL Lock-Out Reek of Anti-Semitism?

Representatives of players and owners are both Jewish

By: Daniel Horowitz
Published: October 8th, 2012 in News » World
NHL Lockout
Today (October 8th) marks Day 23 of the National Hockey League’s lock-out, and, as a Canadian I am angry and annoyed. As a Jew, I am offended and, quite possibly, paranoid.

Let me explain.

I have been a diehard NHL fan since the late 1960s when, as a small child, I would eat, sleep and poop all things blue and white (as in the Toronto Maple Leafs). And, yes, the blue and white poop did have doctors concerned.

The fact that the two sides – players and owners – in the current NHL labor negotiations have still not come to an agreement, or, at the very least, an agreement to play while they continue to negotiate, is ludicrous.

The owners are billionaires. The players are millionaires. Surely there’s something to be done. Then again, both sides are completely insulated form the daily struggles of most regular, hard-working folks, especially in the wake of the recent global economic slide.

Perhaps a couple of weeks of Sydney Crosby working at Home Depot, while Buffalo Sabres’ owner Terrence Pegula sold cars at Gambino Ford in Lockport, N.Y., or maybe bagged groceries at Tops Friendly Market for a month, would give both sides a different perspective, while making them appreciate their lot in life a lot more than they apparently do.

I think it’s pathetic that NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman, and NHL Players Association Director, Donald Fehr, can’t figure out something before an entire season is lost.

On the “offended” side of the charter, is it just me, or has this ongoing labour battle not had a scent of anti-Semitism to it when it comes to who’s to blame?

Think about it.

Bettman, who in the past has been called a “New York lawyer”, anti-semitic parlance for “a Jew”, was recently called out publicly by NHL veteran Teemu Selanne, who called the commish the NHL’s “most hated person,” and blamed him for the league’s labor conflicts.

But it’s not just the Finnish Flash who’s been dissing Bettman; he’s been the target of wrath from disgruntled players and fans alike. But Gary takes it all in stride which is probably one of the reasons many find him arrogant and annoying.

“If you’re thin-skinned, you don’t belong doing what I do for a living,” Bettman said recently in an interview with The Globe & Mail. “I have the support of ownership. I constantly try to do what I believe is in the best interests of this game. There are always going to be critics … and I have always had a rule: no matter how good the commentary is, or how bad the commentary is, it’s more important that you do what you think is right.”

You tell ‘em, Gary! Love him or hate him, you gotta respect Bettman’s commitment to the job.

Selanne even went so far as to ask, rhetorically, if Bettman, who along with the Fehr – also a Jew – have said they will not draw their salaries during the lockout, would be willing to give up his $8 million salary for a year.

A reasonable request, Teemu, but have you considered giving back some of the inflated salary you continue to draw, apparently without any moral conflicts, despite the fact that your 42-year-old legs are barely holding up?

Could it be that you wouldn’t have made those same comments if the NHL Commissioner today was, say, Clarence Campbell?

And to make matters worse, an article in a newspaper that was printed just prior to Yom Kippur, made a point of calling the highest and most important Jewish holiday nothing more than an “impediment”, and that “…Tuesday evening marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday that forbids work until Wednesday evening. Bettman and Fehr are Jewish.”

I can almost hear the reaction of your typical NHL fan, dressed in his team’s favourite jersey, beer in hand, blaming the Jews and Yom Kippur for coming between him and the game he loves so much.

I don’t know who is most to blame for this work stoppage. Whoever it is, you have my wrath for making my Fall sports experience dependent on the performance of the perpetually rebuilding Toronto Raptors, and for that, I will never forgive you.

But, I suppose that if I do have to take a side, it would be with the owners.

Call me old-fashioned if you must, but I learned about work ethic, and taking pride in always doing one’s best when I was a youngster.

I believe that the owners are just that, owners. They hire players to represent their team to the best of their abilities – both on, and off the ice – and pay them according to their skill level and what the market will bear. I think the owners should make more money than the players, and I think the players, some of whom are apparently already starting to hurt from missing their first couple of $300,000 cheques for two weeks of playing a boys’ game, should give their collective heads a shake, break out their skates, and beg Donald Fehr to accept whatever offer Bettman – and those owners – are offering.

And, next September, they should also consider accompanying their supposed Messiah Donald Fehr to synagogue, and pray that they are inscribed in the Book of Life, or onto The Stanley Cup one day.

Related articles: Hockey, NHL, Lock Out, Toronto Maple Leafs, Gary Bettman, anti-Semitism, Jewish, Players, Owners, Stanley Cup, Sydney Crosby, Terrence Pegula,
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