Fehr has often spoken of a new “playbook” for sports leagues, in which they impose salary caps and lock out players to force them to accept pay cuts. [...] Fehr said “the same people” are behind these tactics “regardless of the sport” — a reference to the Proskauer Rose law firm, which represents the N.H.L., the N.F.L., the N.B.A. and Major League Baseball in labor negotiations. Bettman worked there as a lawyer in the 1970s.
Bob Batterman, a top Proskauer Rose lawyer who works closely with the N.H.L. and the N.F.L., said in January that “the pendulum has swung too far toward the employees,” and that “employers are using lockouts because unions are reluctant to do what the employers consider reasonable.” Fehr said: “He’s obviously right that employers are using the lockout more often. Bob has been the architect of a whole host of those.”[...] Talks are expected to resume this week in New York, with bargaining still stalemated but a solution in sight. Bettman is calling for an immediate reduction of players’ salaries to 50 percent of league revenue from 57 percent, a 12 percent pay cut. Fehr is calling for a gradual reduction to 50 percent that avoids pay cuts. [...] “After all the concessions the players made last time, in the billions of dollars, and with the owners having had record revenues seven years in a row, and the two highest growth years being last season and the season before, we see no basis upon which to tell players to go backward,” Fehr said.