Unless you live under a rock, you’ve clearly seen that the NBA has now officially cancelled the first two weeks of the season. For Portland, that means vacated games against Andre Miller and the Denver Nuggets, Blake Griffin and the LA Clippers, and league MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls. And that’s just the beginning.
It’s apparent now that the owners are willing to let the season go down in flames before they’ll budge on the money they want the players to give up. And can you blame them? I for one can’t. It’s their league, it’s their billions, and they have every right to want every last penny available.
In the 25th hour the NBPA put together a half-baked plan to drum up support for their cause, but trust me it will take more than that. Rich people want to stay rich; that goes double or triple for the super-duper rich. The unfortunate thing for the players is that the owners have the means to last for a LONG TIME without the league, and likely have the know how to play super hardball if it should come down to that. If we’ve learned anything about big business in this country it’s that people with money call the shots, and 10 times out of 10 they get what they want. That’s capitalism, or at least that’s the American version of capitalism. Why should the NBA be any different?
Sure owners and GMs made plenty of stupid decisions that they’re now trying to get bailed out of, but once again, there is a precedent for that fully established in this country. I’m not saying that the owners are right in what they’re doing, I’m just saying that at this point right and wrong is irrelevant. The owners OWN THE LEAGUE. With ownership comes certain privileges. One of those privileges is deciding how much they want to pay their employees. If the players wanted to have a league in which they made the rules about payments they definitely could. Just because a player owned and operated league has never existed doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a fun experiment. It wouldn’t be the NBA–my guess of what it would be like is a lot of branstorming, playing in high school gyms, and maybe WWE style storyline building to create a narrative that fans could follow–but it might be where were headed.
Of course it’s not all the way over yet. Just the first two weeks are gone. According to commissioner David Stern they’ll take it two weeks at a time, piecemeal-ing the season to death, so there’s still hope will get some part of what’s left of 2011-12′s 82 games. I wouldn’t count on it though. Stern also said the NBPA is going to have to account for lost revenue when they come back to the bargaining table. Long story short: the players missed their chance to settle this thing in a clean and friendly manner.
They’ll be plenty of chatter on meetings, or on the fact that the sides might not be meeting, as things continue on. As we all know, once the season starts it’s over in the blink of an eye. Make no mistake, the lockout is very real, and has been real from the day it was first announced. There’s no doubt in my mind that the season will get cancelled if the owners don’t want to concede to the players’ demands.
And that’s where we are right now. The players believe that they’ll benefit from holding out a little longer, which it won’t, and the owners are steadfast in their plan to not blink. It’s a game of chicken, except that the players have nothing in their pocket that will make their bosses swerve off their chosen path. Their up against it now. The best they can do is realize that, bite the bullet, and get back to work.
They may be millionaires, but at this point they’re like every other employed person in this country. They work at the pleasure of those that sign their paychecks. I know it sounds harsh, and like I’m taking the side of management, but these guys should be happy they have a job, they’re are plenty of people right now that don’t.
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