Obama on the NHL Lockout: So Close, Yet So Boringly Progressive

Obama Bruins HockeyDo we hockey fans really need the President chiming in on the NHL lockout?

“My message to owners and to players is, you guys make a lot of money and you make a lot of money on the backs of fans, so do right by your fans,” Obama said. “You can figure out how to spread out a bunch of revenue that you’re bringing in, but do right by the people who support you.

“And I shouldn’t have to be involved in a dispute between really wealthy players and even wealthier owners. They should be able to settle this themselves. And remember who it is that’s putting all that money in their pockets.”

As much as I want to cheer the sentiment, I can’t. Hockey players and team owners don’t make their money “on the backs of fans”. That’s tired old-school 60’s radical talk. We voluntarily pay for tickets, season passes, and merchandise. Fans get a benefit for our money — the joy of watching the best hockey players in the world play their hearts out for those coveted two points in the standings, a spot in the playoffs, and perhaps even a Stanley Cup. Owners and players do not get over on us, even as they dicker over a few million dollars on each side of the table.

President Obama used the language of the progressive who simply doesn’t understand how the voluntary exchange of money for service, or entertainment, works. We hockey fans, though vexed by the loss of part of a season and perhaps the whole doggoned thing if negotiations don’t work out, have other options. We make our choices willingly.

Would that the President and his well-paid Democratic counterparts (speaking of making a lot of money on the backs of others) remembered how capitalism works.