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Are you wearing your NHL gear during the lockout? And other thoughts

A Reddit commenter, reacting to my post about the Caps’ merchandise tweet yesterday, touched on something I’ve faced during the NHL lockout myself. “I won’t even wear Caps stuff that I already own, let alone buy new stuff,” they wrote.

Like that fan, I don’t have much desire to put on my Washington Capitals gear these days. The red Caps hat I normally wear often, it now sits at home and my team t-shirts haven’t seen the light of day in a few weeks.

This isn’t my way of protesting or making a statement. I have no plans to burn jerseys in the streets (though gathering with a few thousands fans peacefully outside the NHL Store near Times Square certainly has some appeal). I’m mostly just too frustrated with the league and the players to wear these things. The two sides have had years under the old collective bargaining agreement to figure out where to go next with their arrangement and to avoid another lockout, yet here we are again. I see hockey merchandise in my house and I just kind of think, “jerks,” before finding something else to wear.

I posted something on Twitter about the lack of enthusiasm for donning Caps gear at the moment and got a few responses from other people who feel similarly:

As much as I love Caps hockey, color me unexcited to rock any red at least until things are resolved, or likely even longer as a result of watching the two parties drag things out like they don’t have a care in the world when hockey starts up again. With as infrequently as the two parties get together to negotiate, I have to wonder if they’re truly taking much time at all to consider the fans or the thousands of businesses and employees they’re hurting (see the “Related article” section below for some examples). Their lack of urgency speaks volumes.

The longer the two sides take to get a deal done, the closer we get to pitchers and catchers reporting. Once that happens, it’s hard to say how long it will be until I invest much time and money into hockey again. Major League Baseball seems to have learned something from its past labor struggles; why the NHL hasn’t is an enigma (miss you, Sasha!). What about you, Commissioner Bettman, do you know why this keeps happening?

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