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Former MLB commish Fay Vincent talks about Fehr's negotiating style

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01-01-2013, 02:41 PM
  #1
LadyStanley
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Former MLB commish Fay Vincent talks about Fehr's negotiating style

http://www.mercurynews.com/sharks/ci...-making-an-nhl

Sharks beat writer gets story from MLB side of how Fehr negotiates.

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Fehr earned his reputation over more than two decades representing athletes in baseball. And while a Major League Baseball spokesman said no one in baseball's front office would discuss Fehr's style or tactics, former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent didn't hesitate to define Fehr as a man of ability and integrity with a politically framed sense of purpose.
"He's very organized, very smart, very disciplined and very strategic," Vincent, 74, said from his home in Florida. "And he's devoted to the cause."
That cause, Vincent added, isn't just a matter of economics.
"He is a man of the left politically and temperamentally," said Vincent, baseball's commissioner from 1989 to 1992 -- a period that included a 32-day lockout in 1990. "He's very much convinced there is moral right on the side of the working player and that there are moral defects, if you will, on the side of the owners, the capitalists in baseball or hockey."
...
Whatever fault Vincent might find with Fehr, the former commissioner described their dealings as "first-rate" and said it's the NHL owners who have to come to their senses at this point, as baseball owners finally did.
"The insight that everybody comes to ultimately is that without the players there is no game," Vincent said. "And you can fight with them only so long because you can't get along without them. If you ever want to have a game and you're an owner, you have to give them their way."
His final advice to Fehr's current opponents: "Make the best deal you can, but don't let it go on very much longer. The hemorrhaging is very serious."

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01-01-2013, 03:13 PM
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"He used to say to me, 'Look, I'm not worried about baseball. That's your job. My job is to take care of my clients, my constituency. I'm trying to get everything for them I can, and you worry about the future of the game,'" the former commissioner said.

"I said, 'Don, that's so shortsighted because obviously if the game doesn't do well, neither will your players.' "

Forward Joe Pavelski, the Sharks' union representative, rejected the idea that Fehr is working against hockey's overall interests.
"It's pretty clear he definitely doesn't want to ruin the game," he said. "He still wants what's best for the game and what's best for the players."
What has been speculated around here..

Let's hope Pavs and Stuart are right.

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01-01-2013, 07:56 PM
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Fehr is working for the betterment of the players and this is the first time they have had someone who has not other interest. Every other NHLPA boss had an agenda beyond that of their job

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01-01-2013, 10:06 PM
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Fehr isn't stupid. He has known from the start that there are tens of millions more that the owners can afford to give up and have zero affect on the game. The only impact will be on the owners pockets. He knows this and isn't prepared to sign a deal that isn't fair.

If Fehr allowed the NHL to lowball him as they tried, he wouldn't be doing his job.

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01-02-2013, 10:24 AM
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Keep the politics beyond Fehr's personal & documented philosophies
out of the conversation otherwise the thread easily runs right off the rails
.

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01-02-2013, 10:41 AM
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That comment from Vincent about Fehr telling him to "worry about the future of the game" is very telling. It probably shouldn't come as a shock that his main goal is to get as much money for his clients as possible, but why the players continue to believe that he has any interest in improving the game is beyond me. In the end he's really not that much different from an agent.

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01-02-2013, 11:04 AM
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Vincent thinks baseball made a good deal?

They created a system of have's and have not's that will collapse once their TV money gets reduced. Attendance in small markets is suffering in MLB due to Fehr's tactics. I definitely will not support the NHL if it goes the same way.

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01-02-2013, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkachuk4MVP View Post
That comment from Vincent about Fehr telling him to "worry about the future of the game" is very telling. It probably shouldn't come as a shock that his main goal is to get as much money for his clients as possible, but why the players continue to believe that he has any interest in improving the game is beyond me. In the end he's really not that much different from an agent.
He is the biggest kind of an agent...his only concern is money for his clients, end of story...he never worries about the game, he has no connection or emotion for the game...he's just a master type of negotiator, who does what he thinks is right, good or bad for the game...

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01-02-2013, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KINGS17 View Post
Vincent thinks baseball made a good deal?

They created a system of have's and have not's that will collapse once their TV money gets reduced. Attendance in small markets is suffering in MLB due to Fehr's tactics. I definitely will not support the NHL if it goes the same way.
I think you're exaggerating a bit there: baseball is still rolling in dough and while viewership is down on the national level, local ratings are still huge (I think that's what someone had shown around here)

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01-02-2013, 11:58 AM
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I think you're exaggerating a bit there: baseball is still rolling in dough and while viewership is down on the national level, local ratings are still huge (I think that's what someone had shown around here)
Local ratings in selected markets. Take a look at ratings in Houston, San Diego, and other small markets. The amount of time MLB has left to be rolling in dough is highly debateable.

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01-02-2013, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkachuk4MVP View Post
That comment from Vincent about Fehr telling him to "worry about the future of the game" is very telling. It probably shouldn't come as a shock that his main goal is to get as much money for his clients as possible, but why the players continue to believe that he has any interest in improving the game is beyond me. In the end he's really not that much different from an agent.
Well, Vincent and Fehr are right.

It's not up to the union to make the NHL fix its problem.

If anything, the more the union wins, the more desperate the owners will be to cooperate to fix the league's true economic problem.
Or, the more likely the owners will be to find better locations for franchises.

Or, if the owners can't cooperate to save their game, the more likely it is teams will fold.

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01-02-2013, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KINGS17 View Post
Vincent thinks baseball made a good deal?

They created a system of have's and have not's that will collapse once their TV money gets reduced. Attendance in small markets is suffering in MLB due to Fehr's tactics. I definitely will not support the NHL if it goes the same way.
Sure, Because hockey can't compete in the LA market, right?

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01-02-2013, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KINGS17 View Post
Local ratings in selected markets. Take a look at ratings in Houston, San Diego, and other small markets. The amount of time MLB has left to be rolling in dough is highly debateable.
And yet Houston is one of the top 10 TV markets in the US - not a small market.

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01-02-2013, 12:20 PM
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And yet Houston is one of the top 10 TV markets in the US - not a small market.
They lost the Oilers and are still very meh about the Astros who regularly played to empty seats during PLAYOFF games at the Astrodome.

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01-02-2013, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blamebettman View Post
They lost the Oilers and are still very meh about the Astros who regularly played to empty seats during PLAYOFF games at the Astrodome.
That area of the country is very hard to figure out. Phoenix as well is a big TV market but unless you are winning no one comes.

Arizona Cardinals
Houston Texans
Arizona Diamondbacks
Houston Astros
It's odd.

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01-02-2013, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Bob View Post
Well, Vincent and Fehr are right.

It's not up to the union to make the NHL fix its problem.

If anything, the more the union wins, the more desperate the owners will be to cooperate to fix the league's true economic problem.
Or, the more likely the owners will be to find better locations for franchises.

Or, if the owners can't cooperate to save their game, the more likely it is teams will fold.

I agree to an extent, but you're assuming that the league's problems and the players are mutually exclusive when they're not (Vincent even mentions this in the article). When you refer to the "league's true economic problem", a major part of that is player salaries eating up so much of what is already a relatively small revenue pool, and the league is trying to address this issue while also including things like make-whole and a cap floor so the players don't get totally screwed. Player salaries aren't the only concern to be sure, and my main complaint with Bettman and the league is that they haven't done enough to address the other economic issues that you're referring to.

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01-02-2013, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cfrancis View Post
That area of the country is very hard to figure out. Phoenix as well is a big TV market but unless you are winning no one comes.

Arizona Cardinals
Houston Texans
Arizona Diamondbacks
Houston Astros
It's odd.
they're a big tv market but that doesn't mean it's a big pro sports region. Green Bay is a tiny TV market. But that place is football crazy.

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01-02-2013, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Bob View Post
It's not up to the union to make the NHL fix its problem.
That's true, and it's exactly why it's also fair to say that Fehr doesn't care about the future of the game, only for ensuring that his constituency has milked every last drop from the league as is possible. It's pretty obvious that his intent was to delay and delay until the last moment the NHL would cancel the season to force the league's best offer. And that's fine, because that's his role.

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01-02-2013, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkachuk4MVP View Post
I agree to an extent, but you're assuming that the league's problems and the players are mutually exclusive when they're not (Vincent even mentions this in the article). When you refer to the "league's true economic problem", a major part of that is player salaries eating up so much of what is already a relatively small revenue pool, and the league is trying to address this issue while also including things like make-whole and a cap floor so the players don't get totally screwed. Player salaries aren't the only concern to be sure, and my main complaint with Bettman and the league is that they haven't done enough to address the other economic issues that you're referring to.
Even with all that... though... it still needs to be recognized that Fehr is in the midst of negotiating a concessionary contract.
It won't be the win that the NBA and NFL got. But it'll be concessionary.

So a lot of this Big Bad Fehr stuff is really out of tune with the facts.

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01-02-2013, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Clock View Post
That's true, and it's exactly why it's also fair to say that Fehr doesn't care about the future of the game, only for ensuring that his constituency has milked every last drop from the league as is possible. It's pretty obvious that his intent was to delay and delay until the last moment the NHL would cancel the season to force the league's best offer. And that's fine, because that's his role.
No, it's not fair to say that.

If that was the case, Fehr wouldn't have budged from 57 percent. He would have demanded more than 57 percent.
Or he would have put the salary cap on the table from day 1.

It's time to inject some reality into the Fehr bashing.

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01-02-2013, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkachuk4MVP View Post
That comment from Vincent about Fehr telling him to "worry about the future of the game" is very telling. It probably shouldn't come as a shock that his main goal is to get as much money for his clients as possible, but why the players continue to believe that he has any interest in improving the game is beyond me. In the end he's really not that much different from an agent.
Honestly, I think he's right. The union cannot take care of the NHL because they cannot make the decisions about team locations, spending, league strategy. That indeed is the commissioner's job. The owners will firstly worry about their own team, and how that team fits into the collective. Just like Fehr, their primary concern isn't "the game" or "growing the game" per se, it's taking care of the team they just acquired. The commissioner is that one person that can herd that breed of cat.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Tkachuk4MVP View Post
I agree to an extent, but you're assuming that the league's problems and the players are mutually exclusive when they're not (Vincent even mentions this in the article). When you refer to the "league's true economic problem", a major part of that is player salaries eating up so much of what is already a relatively small revenue pool, and the league is trying to address this issue while also including things like make-whole and a cap floor so the players don't get totally screwed. Player salaries aren't the only concern to be sure, and my main complaint with Bettman and the league is that they haven't done enough to address the other economic issues that you're referring to.

It becomes about the players when the league seems to only make moves to resolve economic issues by taking money from the players and setting that to an artificial level of the lowest common denominator. I know the challenge for Bettman (or any commissioner) is indeed gargantuan because the only other option right now is to get real wealth transfer happening between billionaires.

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01-02-2013, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Clock View Post
That's true, and it's exactly why it's also fair to say that Fehr doesn't care about the future of the game, only for ensuring that his constituency has milked every last drop from the league as is possible. It's pretty obvious that his intent was to delay and delay until the last moment the NHL would cancel the season to force the league's best offer. And that's fine, because that's his role.

The NHL could have tabled a realistic offer. Please hold them accountable for their own brand of brinksmanship, a form of negotiating personified in Bettman.

Honestly, Fehr is representing the NHLPA ~because~ Bettman and Batterman are on the other side.

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01-02-2013, 01:39 PM
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No, it's not fair to say that.

If that was the case, Fehr wouldn't have budged from 57 percent. He would have demanded more than 57 percent.
Or he would have put the salary cap on the table from day 1.

It's time to inject some reality into the Fehr bashing.
Reality injection: the league would not accept that. Fehr's negotiations are worthless if no deal is eventually signed.

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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
The NHL could have tabled a realistic offer. Please hold them accountable for their own brand of brinksmanship, a form of negotiating personified in Bettman.

Honestly, Fehr is representing the NHLPA ~because~ Bettman and Batterman are on the other side.
I absolutely do. At the end of the day, I think most of us agree that the league created many of the NHL's financial problems, so it's difficult to sympathize. My only point is that Fehr isn't out for the good of the game, he's out to get as much for the players as possible.

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01-02-2013, 01:41 PM
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It's not up to the union to make the NHL fix its problem.
So why are the players constantly crying about wanting to be treated like partners?

The union has been very disingenuous. They don't care a whit about the health of the game.

drop that pretext or be judged upon it.

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01-02-2013, 01:44 PM
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So why are the players constantly crying about wanting to be treated like partners?

The union has been very disingenuous. They don't care a whit about the health of the game.

drop that pretext or be judged upon it.

Balderdash. This partner crap started with Gary, after he rammed the last CBA down the PA's gullet.

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