Will there be a (basketball) season?
Last week, the owners and players met for over thirty hours but were unable to come up with a solution that would end the NBA lockout. After labor talks broke down Friday afternoon in New York, NBA commissioner David Stern was forced to cancel all NBA games until Nov. 28th. The first cancellation was announced on Oct.10th, and that included 100 games.
After three-days of negotiating to get a collective bargaining agreement deal, the players and owners held a press conference calling out one another. No one knew what went on behind closed doors, but after hearing the players association president, Derek Fisher, and NBA deputy commissioner, Adam Silver, speak, the fingers were pointed at the owners. Fisher didn’t sugarcoat his story as he stood in front of over 50 reporters and told them they were “lied to earlier,” referring to the words that came out of Silver’s mouth during the owner’s press conference. Silver told reporters that the players wouldn’t budge on their revenue split, which caused them to end all talks.
Fisher didn’t hold his breath when he was questioned by NBA Television’s David Aldridge, after the conclusion of the press conference. “These talks and meetings, and the mediation process did not end because of ultimatums made by us,” said Fisher. “They were clearly made by the league, and by the NBA, and they tried to pre-condition the rest of our talks trying to get us to agree to a 50/50 split on the BRI, and what we clearly said was, “That is not a place we are willing to go right now, if ever. However, we were ready to continue some talks on the system and the issues, and if we could reach some agreements there, it could have some impact on what the final number could be, but they said it’s a take-it-or-leave-it situation.”
George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, was brought in to try and get owners and players to see eye-to-eye on a fair deal – a deal that would be beneficial for both parties, but things got so unpleasant and intense that his presence became a shadow. Now we have an atrocious combat between millionaires and billionaires.
The millionaire players are trying very hard to get a deal done. They want to play basketball, but refuse to settle for a hand-me-down deal that the owners were trying to offer. The players were willing to give up 57 percent, and take 52.5 of the basketball revenue, while the owners would have received 47.5 percent, but that wasn’t good enough for the owners; they wanted at least 50 percent. Basketball is one of the most victorious businesses in the world. There are a lot of humans suffering from this injury not just players. Several NBA workers have apparently lost their jobs due to the hold out. There’s really nothing players can do at this point, but accept whatever the owners are throwing at them.
The players have fought very hard to get where they are now, and doesn’t seem to be interested in letting anyone take that away from them. Free agent and former Atlanta Hawks player Jamal Crawford is appalled by the owners’ actions. “I think it’s unfortunate that after having the most successful season in the league history, we’re locked out,” Crawford said. “We are willing to sacrifice on certain things, but it seems like players are the only ones sacrificing. Ultimately we’re all losing, but no one is losing more than the people who work in and around the arenas, and our fans. It’s a shame.”
The billionaire owners are taking away the players’ pride and joy: basketball. The message that they are sending to players sounds notorious. “Take what we are offering or leave it.” NBA Commissioner, David Stern, has threatened the players that the entire season could be cancelled if they don’t come up with a mutual decision soon, but the deal the owners are offering is unbearable to the players. Small market owners like, San Antonio, Cleveland, Phoenix, and Portland are the ring-leaders of the lock out. If you know the past history of these owners, then you know there might be a little bitterness on their tongue.
Cleveland’s owner could still be weeping about the break-up with LeBron James; San Antonio’s owner might be sobbing about getting eliminated by a number eight seed in the 2011playoffs; Phoenix’s owner also lost one of his star players, Amare Stoudemire, last summer in free agency, and Portland’s owner made the biggest blooper in basketball, drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007. Basketball might be a little personal for certain individuals.
The players are now poised to pursue legal action since the owners weren’t willing to put an endurable deal on the table. A lower federal judge can overrule the lockout and allow them to report to work, but the NBA would appeal, and it would take months before an appellate court would rule. If that happens, players’ would lose over 1 billion dollars. The players continue to remain victims in this lockout, as they would lose time and money that would affect their living and careers. Memphis Grizzlies power forward, Zach Randolph, supports the players 100 percent. “I support the union as all players should,” Randolph said. “The players just want a comfortable deal, something that would be good for future NBA players as well.”