For months now, we hockey fans have been bombarded with facts and figures as we try to follow this NHL Lockout situation. By now we know all the pros and cons of a salary cap system, the amount of money the league gets from NBC, and the different percentages thrown around from each side.
But one thing most of us might not have taken into effect lies deeper than just dollars and contracts. Apparently, the personal factor might play a large role, if this ESPN study is to be believed. According to a player poll taken by the sports giant, 100 percent of NHL players would vote against Gary Bettman for commissioner.
That is a seriously telling statistic about the popularity of Bettman nowadays: he apparently is having trouble earning legitimacy as a commissioner from his own league’s players. According to ESPN’s poll, only Bud Selig of the MLB would be re-hired, while David Stern and Roger Goodell of the NBA and NFL would be kicked to the curb alongside Bettman. However, no commissioner would lose in as big of a landslide as Bettman.
But with a little bit of digging, perhaps there isn’t too much evidence to draw out the results beyond the poll. One key fact is that only thirteen players were interviewed, so there probably was too small a sample size to extend the “100% dislike Bettman” to all players in the league. It would also be impossible to say that players would refuse to strike a deal with Bettman because they don’t like him. It isn’t unreasonable to think that the players could still get a deal pushed through despite their apparent distaste for their Commissioner. And at the rate negotiations are going now, that might need to happen soon if they want to play even a fraction of a season.
But regardless of how much we can stretch out this poll, the results do change our perspective during negotiations. Bettman isn’t very popular among the players – that much we probably knew. But 100 percent dislike seems too high to be real, and could be telling of a serious undertone within these negotiations that is decreasing the possibility of salvaging the season.
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