Have Attitudes Towards Athletes Who Boycott/Strike Changed?

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News of the United States Women’s Ice Hockey Team threatening to boycott the upcoming IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championships in Plymouth (near Detroit) sent shockwaves especially on this side of the border. The women wanted USA Hockey to pay them the same wage as their male counterparts. The boycott, however, gained so much momentum that the US Men’s Hockey Team was considering not taking part in this year’s IIHF Men’s World Championships to show their solidarity with the women. Other American female athletes such as soccer star Alex Morgan and former tennis champion Billie Jean King have thrown their support behind the US Women’s Hockey Team.

The good news was that a deal had been reached days before the tournament was to open. The US Women’s Team dropped their boycott and participated in the tournament as scheduled starting with their opening game against their main rivals, Canada. Everyone in the end was happy. Now, was the threat of boycotting the tournament made by the US Women’s Hockey Team changed people’s minds towards athletes threatening not to play over money? CHL players are currently looking to unionize and asking to be paid minimum wage. How will hockey fans in Canada react to that? How will the public react when the next professional sports league decides to halt the game over money? If you change the word ‘strike’ to ‘boycott’, does it become more acceptable? What about the idea of organized labour? No union argued on behalf of the US Women’s Hockey Team and yet the players were able to reach a settlement. We have seen in the past player’s unions decertify or consider decertifying which has led to collective agreements being reached more quickly.

Public opinion towards work stoppages in sports have not been kind to athletes in the past, or owners for that matter. If it’s two sides bitching about money, fans don’t want to hear about it. So now you have the US Women’s Hockey Team in a dispute with USA Hockey over money. Not much positive reaction towards the women but hardly any negative ones either. I would hazard to guess because there is money involved, there is that same sentiment from fans if it were professional players. But  you also have to consider the players on the women’s team don’t make millions of dollars like their male counterparts in the NHL. So you kind of have to see their side for taking this course of action. One other factor that no one is bringing up is gender. No one dares to raise their voice towards the US Women’s Hockey Team for fear of criticism. Yes, opposing their boycott of the World Championships could be seen as sexist. Men, however, remain fair game.

I’m of the belief that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. I’m not in favour of any level of government offering any kind of financial assistance to corporations. But I also think corporations should be able to apply and receive such funding if it’s available. The reason being is that taxpayer’s money is there for everyone to benefit from. EVERYONE. No matter how big or small you are. Therefore, if it is acceptable for the US Women’s Hockey Team to carry out their threat to boycott, there is no reason not to give any other organization the same benefit of the doubt. This is suppose to be about treating everybody equally. So the next time baseball, hockey, basketball, or football players threaten to walk off the job over wage disputes, let’s give them the respect that they deserve, or risk having your pinko card revoked and being forced to wear a “Make America Great Again” cap.

Also see:

A CFL Strike? It is Bound to Happen
Sports is Not a Platform for Activism
Olympics are All About the Games

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