Media Misses Boat on Sports Strikes/Lockouts

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The NHL season was cancelled last week…twice. I don’t really care for pro hockey that much. Being from the south, I just wasn’t raised on it depsite Gordie Howe playing for the original Houston Areos. But, this cancellation of the season is another oppotunity for most of the media to miss the point.

For the most part, media stories have been centered on the league – how devastating this will be to hockey, will the players stay together, will franchises fold. A few have talked about the economic impact to cities (Philadelphia is considering filing suit against the NHL for lost revenues) or how disappointed hockey fans are.

But, rarely do they talk about the day-to-day operations people who get paid low wages to work in and around pro sports and will now be out of jobs for an entire season.

Scott Burnside of ESPN.com did nail it with his column Owners, Players Not Alone even referring to lost jobs as “collateral damage,” pretty appropriate.

Ticket takers and ushers, cleaning staff and parking lot attendants, restaurateurs and bar owners, companies that supply linens and ones that service the ice resurfacing equipment, bus companies, equipment companies — they’re only part of the long list of people and industries suffering from the collateral damage created by the NHL lockout.

He also mentions sports bars and restaurants that depend on sports like hockey to drive business.

With the NBA negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement currently and needing to get one done before July 1 to avoid a work stoppage, it is just a reminder of how crazy it is when millionaires fight over how to divide billions of dollars and the people that unwittingly get caught in that wake.

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