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Sopel to striking Chicago teachers — Get back to work, you’re lucky to have a job

Sep 10, 2012, 11:27 AM EDT

Brent Sopel Getty Images

Former NHL defenseman Brent Sopel is upset that Chicago Public Schools teachers are going out on strike and thinks they should just be happy to have a job.

“CPS teachers strike during this economy. Be happy you have a job in a profession YOU chose. #wasteoftime,” Sopel tweeted Monday morning.

Not surprisingly, his tweet – which comes while the NHLPA is engaged in labor negotiations with the league – generated its share of backlash.

To which Sopel responded with: “All who would like to throw out the hockey comments because of my CPS comments just remember that hockey isn’t funded by tax payers. #truth”

And: “Go ahead and hate me because I have an opinion. I donate countless hours to charity and put my money where my mouth is. #securewithme.”

And: “Yes arenas are funded with tax payer money. Along with that they bring jobs and revenue to the cities. Gov. money doesn’t fund our pension.”

So there you go, teachers. Start bringing jobs and revenue to cities and maybe Sopel will be a little more sympathetic. But if all you’re going to do is teach kids to read and write, get back to work.

  1. danaking - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Who paid for the United Center? No one’s going to pay you to play street hockey, douche bag.

    • broadstreetbullymke - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:45 AM

      Unlike the teachers though, the Blackhawks are actually somewhat successful at doing their jobs.

    • polegojim - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      I don’t ‘hate’ him for having an opinion. It’s simply very sad that he actually BELIEVE’s his opinion.

      How about this: When the players get their new deal, how about if each player pays .005% of their annual salaries into their respective public education system for teacher pay raises.

      That way, the owners AND players are doing more than creating revenue, they’re helping to build the future in the children who watch them.

      Do the same with NFL, MLB, NBA while you’re at it.

      • somekat - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:09 PM

        Teacher in chicago get paid more than 65% more than the average person in Chicago. The City of chicago pays 50% more than the rest of the country per kid (13k, per student, per year). The problem is not money, the problem is what they are doing with the money.

        This need that people in our country have to just throw money at things is mind boggling. They are spending more than $1300 per kid a month. If they need more money than that, it’s time to start looking at what they are doing with that money. Not throw more at them.

      • polegojim - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:25 PM

        Averaging the averages isn’t the solution either. What do hockey players make compared to the average person in Chicago?

        I have yet to meet a teacher who is overpaid for what they’re asked to do and in dealing with apathetic and uninvolved parents.

        The ‘system’ isn’t at issue in this discussion, but teacher pay IS.

        If the system should be ‘on trial’, then belly up and get it done, but ineffective spending isn’t the teachers fault and they shouldn’t pay for it.

      • jpelle82 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        they already do…its called taxes.

      • polegojim - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:40 PM

        Oh yes JPelle… and you think THAT’s going well???

        Check out the education facts nationwide.

        Anyways.. the point of the post is… A man making millions per year is criticizing folks making tens of thousands for the same reason HE won’t be working.

        It’s called… HYPOCRISY!

        Let’s try some Illinois facts instead from National Education Association:
        #3 in country for operating # of public schools
        #6 in country for HS graduation
        #7 in country for average staff salary K-12
        #7 in overall average instructional staff salary
        #27 in average change instructional staff salary

        Pretty good results for less than the ‘top pay’ some of you think they get.

  2. broadstreetbullymke - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    I just earned a lot of respect for Sopel on this one (and lost a ton of respect for the moron who wrote this article). The last line would be relevant if they actually were successful at teaching kids how to read and write. This whole scenario is also stupid because the teachers say they are all for the kids, but how are the kids supposed to learn anything if the teachers are on strike.

    • Jason Brough - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      That wasn’t his reasoning though. It was “be happy to have a job” and “teachers don’t create jobs and revenue.”

      • broadstreetbullymke - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        I am agreeing with him. I am saying they should be happy to have a job when government budgets are tight, especially when they don’t produce results.

      • Jason Brough - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        But again, that’s not what he said. Nothing about government budgets. Nothing about poor results.

      • kegmen7 - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:46 PM

        Considering every single wage earners who’s not flipping burgers owes their ability to think, read and write effectively to teachers i’d say they create a great of revenue for society….and considering property values are inherently tied to the strength of public schools in that area i’d say they contribute a hell of a lot there too….

  3. dougreale - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Uppity Canadians…

  4. acieu - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Canadians do suck

    • lordfletcher - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      not true.

      As a Minnesotan, I find this comical.

      You find great and bad people anywhere on this planet, for the most part… out brothers to the north are good folk

  5. tmoore4075 - Sep 10, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    Teachers should be happy to have a job. Just like I was happy Dale Tallon gave me 2.3mil a year to score 10 points in 2 years.

    • paledevil - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      was worth it !

    • polegojim - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:49 PM


  6. dadawg77 - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Sounds like he blocked one to many shots. People need to fight for what they get paid no matter who pays them. His logic that since you are a public servant you can’t ask for more is wrong.

    Also unlike most arenas, i believe the UC was entirety funded by the Hawks and Bulls

    • jpelle82 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      you do realize that these teachers TURNED DOWN a 16% raise in a 400 million dollar deal that was negotiated for them and decided to strike anyway? This is also coming from THE highest paid district in the country. The AVERAGE salary is 76k per year BEFORE benefit packages and they are striking right after school starts? If you support these babysitters making 6 figures to produce some of the worst scores in the country then you are f’ing crazy. glad i dont live anywhere near chicago.

      • jpelle82 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        on top of that, how many single mothers or working families are going to lose income because either A: they have to pay a babysitter now B: they have to take off work or lose their job to watch their own kids or C: they have to pay for alternative education (private school). f’ing ridiculous how f’ing selfish…glad i live in a right to work state

    • danaking - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      I stand corrected. A quick check–which I should have done before shooting off my mouth–shows the UC was privately financed, with the city kicking in some infrastructure.

      Thanks, dadawg77.

  7. theawesomersfranchise - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Lockout vs Strike

    But ya, you couldn’t pay me enough to be a public school teacher in Chicago.
    Maybe if I could carry, oh wait, it’s Chicago. Only criminals and a 50/50 police force are allowed to carry in Chicago.

    Those strict gun laws areas sure do have a ton of criminality while places like the State of Texas are havens compared to places like Chicago.

    • paledevil - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      well learn gunsmithy and turn and umbrella into a 22 :}

  8. tmoore4075 - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I think the biggest point here is Sopel doesn’t have enough information to be talking on the subject. He doesn’t know what the teachers salaries are or their classroom conditions or anything like that. The teachers could say the same thing about the players negotiating this cba. Be happy you get to play a sport for a living. The teachers are part of a union just like the players. Teachers want to have a better deal so they are using a negotiating tactic. Players want a better deal they can negotiate it with the NHL. Players have their arguments and I’m sure the teachers do too. Just like the NHL has it’s arguments against the players points and the City of Chicago has against the teachers. Both part of unions and both are doing what they are legally allowed to do.

  9. zbilyeu7 - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Yeah blame the teachers for poor results. Not the parents who most likely don’t do anything with their kids. I love how everything is blamed on teachers now. Try teaching 30 kids to read write and everything else under the sun with no support. I’m sure everyone that posted before me is great at their amazingly hard jobs. Dbags. Mr. Canadian should keep his mouth shut too. He should be happy he lives in a world where he gets paid an outrageous amount to play a game.

    • polegojim - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      No kidding… MOST parents view school as glorified ‘day care’ and invest very little in their childrens performance and take zero accountability for the results.

      Sadly, the ‘biggest losers’ in this situation aren’t even the teachers…they are the CHILDREN!

    • jpelle82 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      paying the teachers more doesnt cause scores to go up or parents to parent their children. in fact i would argue that the higher a teacher is paid the more i would feel they are obligated to parent and teach them…for what i’m paying them they should be doing both.

      • polegojim - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM

        JPelle… Seriously??? That’s just warped any way you look at it.

        Just how much are YOU paying them???

        That 39k-70k gross is hardly an overpay situation. Next you’ll use the excuse that they don’t work all summer either… go ahead, do it.

        You’ve officially become part of the problem and typify why teaching is so tough… and why most business persons AREN’T siding with the PLAYERS.

  10. davebabychreturns - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I’m sad that this article and comments section doesn’t include more Brent Sopel mockery.

    Perhaps he’s just bitter that the teachers strike has him at risk of another cracker related back injury resulting from the extra time spent watching his kids?

    Did the “in a profession YOU chose” remark shed any light on what Sopes is really up to, perhaps the folks at Novokuznetsk Metallurg have him working concessions on the nights he doesn’t get into the lineup?

    • paledevil - Sep 10, 2012 at 12:56 PM

      2 or 3 points struck me … The first is since “sports” are national passtimes and thus as sacred as a national park or monument the idea of who built the united center seems arrogant BTW It was the big black guy…
      Second the idea of read and write has to come after…. be clean have lunch and supplies and act in a socially acceptable manner.. Basic self support training is needed 4 kids.
      Third IL must indian give its pensions or die at some point Chicago will follow suit if it has to or not … Combine a teacher with another city worker they are around that 250k number everyone talks about
      thanks for mixing politics and religon with the booze of sports ….lol

  11. kitshky - Sep 10, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I think most labour negotiations are far too nuanced a topic to have any sort of reasonable discussion in a 140 character limited venue … particularly one with so many extenuating and varied factors (compensation, support, classroom sizes, parental responsibility, funding, incentive programs … ect.) as a Teachers Union.

    The only thing that interests me in the story, is what would motivate anyone in Sopel’s current position come out and make such comments publicly … it’s a no win situation no matter how you feel about Teachers Unions.

    • tmoore4075 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Bingo. And with what I said earlier my guess is if Sopel complained about the lockout and someone said to him players should be happy to be able to play hockey for a living go sign the deal the owners put in front of you he’d be pissed and say they didn’t know what they were talking about. Wading into a subject like this is a very slippery slope as we can see by all the opinions here.

  12. jpat2424 - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Good for you sopel. Get back to work teachers.

  13. ineedmorehossa - Sep 10, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    WTF does this have to do with hockey?

    • polegojim - Sep 10, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      Ummm…. Sopel is a hyporcite – plain and simple.

      If he accurately reflects player mentality… they’re the culprits.

  14. ricepilof - Sep 10, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Having a job as a teacher is one that is way more important then being a hockey player. this ex NHL player just made the dumbest comment I’ve ever read. those striking teachers are trying to prove a point and of all people in this country an NHL player should understand how labor unions work.

  15. acieu - Sep 10, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    He is one of the spoiled jerks who inhabit professional sports and a sucky Canadian to boot

    • kitshky - Sep 11, 2012 at 2:36 AM

      Ha … have you ever actually been to Canada?

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