Since the ratification of a collective bargaining agreement last summer, N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman has often referred to a new partnership between the owners and the players union.
That sort of talk raises the ire of Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.
“It tells me really what I’ve known all along,” the 88-year-old Miller said. “And that is that the N.H.L.P.A. has never been a legitimate union at no time. It has always been an offshoot of management.”
Miller pointed to the players union’s eventual willingness to accept a salary cap and to Ted Saskin’s controversial ascension to executive director of the union (he replaced Bob Goodenow). Saskin (above) had been the union’s senior director of business affairs and licensing.
“The whole thing smells bad,” Miller said. “It just has a very bad odor. You have a so-called senior adviser who takes the leading role in making one of the worst settlements imaginable and then becomes executive director of the union.”
Of the salary cap, Miller said: “I don’t think it was necessary. All the signs were that the union, having come that far, they had more than a fighter’s chance of prevailing. And when the tide turns like that, I get very suspicious of management’s role in coercing the membership.”
When told of Miller’s comments, Saskin said: “Certainly, I disagree with it. Over the last 15 years, since myself and Bob Goodenow have been involved in the players association, we have been relentless advocates of player rights on a myriad of issues.
“I think, obviously, with our new collective bargaining agreement, there are parts of our business in which it’s important for us to cooperate with management.
“I have a lot of respect for Marvin Miller. But also know he’s had no familiarity with anything that has happened in our association over the last 15 years.”