Recently I posted an article titled “Want to boycott the NHL? It won’t work”. It came with a lot of feedback, and not the usual spam. One of the challenges that was put forth was for me to offer a solution. While this article is not a solution in itself, it points the cause in the direction of what has to happen.
Like with the previous article, I have a story to tell. Many of you may remember the anti piracy bill lovingly called SOPA. In a nutshell for those saying “huh?”, this was a bill that was proposed to protect corporations from having their intellectual properties reproduced without permission. In theory it was a great idea, until you dug a little deeper.
If this bill had gone through it would have given the government and corporations unlimited control over the internet. Web sites from certain countries would have been blacklisted. Other web sites could have been taken down at any time for no reason. It restricted the publisher as well as the viewer. A simple video on YouTube could have been considered a copyright issue if some parents put a video of them signing “Happy Birthday” to their child. An absolute violation of free speech.
I am not going to get into more detail because there is much, much more to this topic than I can fit into this and still have it be about the labor dispute. If you have questions regarding this I suggest that you Google SOPA Act.
Now the reason that I bring this up is the show a true story of people standing up for what they believe.
In 2011 when this was taking place, I was very active in the YouTube community as I made videos about PC MMORPG Gaming. This YouTube Gaming community was a prime example of people who stood up because it affected them down to their very being.
Every gamer with more than 1 subscriber made a video denouncing SOPA and encouraging their followers to rise up and say “NO!”. To give an example of what weight this had I will rattle off a few users. Athenewins: 649,406 subscribers Swifty: 388,038 subscribers WowHobbs: 168,014 subscribers. These are just gamers, so imagine the impact of main stream directors. Ray William Johnson alone has 5, 791, 365 subscribers. When these guys say something people listen.
In January, Google released numbers stating that 4.5 million people had signed their Anti SOPA petition. Huge numbers!
Then there was the SOPA blackout. Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, Google, and many other protested this law with a blackout.
Heck, even President Obama’s White House released a statement basically saying Piracy control is good, but this is too much.
What I am driving at is this. Firstly, anything that would get through to the NHL and NHLPA would have to be organized, not just a bunch of random people on Twitter and Facebook asking people to sign a petition and then not doing anything with it. I have seen in the last week, hundreds of websites, tweets, message board posts, etc. asking people to stand up and protest the lockout. Do you think that Gary Bettman will ever catch wind of any of them?
I have also seen YouTube videos chalk full of footage that raises emotions and gets people hyped up and angry, but none of them really educated people on why they should be angry. How many of the people who are mad about a lockout truly know why this is all taking place?
Secondly, the right people need to be involved. The SOPA protests were a who’s who of internet celebs, content publishers, free speech politicians, and web site companies. Right now the Anti Lockout efforts primarily consist of high school kids tweeting their buddies not to buy NHL Jerseys, which they probably will anyway.
Who do you think would have the greatest impact if they spoke up. @HockeyFan12345, or Gordie Howe? Which means more, a message board thread “No Lockout”, or Reebok pulling their sponsorship? What if a petition was plopped on Bettman’s desk, and the first name on it was Bill Clinton (yes he is a hockey fan)?
In a nutshell, for this to work it has to be organized and with the right names attached to it. I still stand by my previous article that this won’t work. This is a sports lockout, not a violation of a constitutional right. The stipulations that I laid out for this to work will not happen. I don’t want anyone to think that I am against such action, but I am a realist. I am not going to start a Hyped Up Hockey petition just to get site views.
I love the game as much as anyone, but I know how this scenario has played out thus far and how it will continue to play out without the right things happening.
I hope there is a full season and I think that there is still hope for one, but if the Fans Unite cry is to be heeded, there is still much to be done before we are more than a fly on the sleeve of big business hockey.
I hope I’m wrong. I would love come October when the season kicks off to get a thousand “I told you so’s”. Who knows? Time will tell.
Until next time….
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