SI: Is there going to be a lockout when the collective bargaining agreement expires in September 2004?
HULL: I don't think the league can afford it. After what baseball did, I don't think teams can afford it. I don't think it will happen. I have hope. That's why I've said some of the things I'm saying—to open people's eyes and help [the two sides come together]. Otherwise there's going to be big trouble.
SI: Do you think the owners are lying about their financial difficulties?
HULL: I don't want to call them liars. But I look at the players they pay big money to, and I say, "Don't do that and then feed me a line of crap."
They're great businessmen. Don't tell me they're f——— losing money hand over fist. They wouldn't be in the business. They'd sell their teams. Say a team's worth $180 million. If you're losing a lot of money, sell it. Let someone else run it.
SI: Would you want the owners to open their books?
HULL: What's that going to do? They all have so many other businesses that they'd just funnel money elsewhere so they could report whatever they wanted.
SI: So how do you go about building trust?
HULL: You try to be honest. Hopefully the owners and the players care enough about each other and the game. But that's another problem: Do the owners really care about the game, or is it just a business to them?
The best thing about Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux becoming owners is that they know what's fair for both sides. So we need more players to get into ownership when they retire.