Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ladd believes fans can see through rhetoric

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NEW YORK -- Jets captain Andrew Ladd was here along with teammates Chris Thorburn, Jim Slater, Mark Stuart and Ron Hainsey and what transpired left a bad taste in his mouth.

"A lockout has been ownership's plan right from the beginning. It seems like it was their play right from the start and that's disappointing from the players' perspective," said Ladd. "We entered the negotiations intent on getting a deal done."

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He understands why the fans are upset but believes they are sophisticated enough to see through the rhetoric.

"The fans are the ones that make our game go and they're the ones that lose out the most in this type of situation," said Ladd. "It's disappointing that this has to happen. The fans understand what is going on. The owners haven't given a great reason for the lockout. They're reason is they just want to lower player costs. That's it. At least the players are trying to help the struggling franchises. We realize the issue and we're moving towards solving a problem and not just make more money."

Hainsey has been on the negotiating committee and while his views on the union and the protection of players' rights are strong, he says he'd like nothing more than to get a deal done.

"No one wants to play more than the players. Right behind us are the fans. They want to watch their teams."

Hainsey says the players have more to lose than the owners in a lockout.

"Our careers are way shorter than how long most owners own a team. In saying that, the fact we are willing to go to this extent should speak volumes about where we are as a union."

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 14, 2012 C4

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