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The players aren't to blame ... yet

Updated: October 20, 2004, 3:32 PM ET
By John Buccigross | Special to ESPN.com

It always surprises me in times of athletic labor strife that players take a Ryan VandenBussche beating from fans.

We've seen it in every sport across the board. Even when the topic is paying NCAA athletes, fans would rather have a bunch of rich white men keep the money instead of the mostly poor- to middle-class athletes who provide the revenue.

I've been in the same room as NHL players and NHL owners, and I can tell you I'd rather Steve McKenna have a few million dollars than Ed ...

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