Yesterday, David Stern announced that the talks between the NBA Team Owners and the NBA Players Association had stopped, that they had not made any progress, and that, as a result, he was "sorry to report" that the first two weeks of the NBA season had been cancelled. This is an open letter to all involved, BOTH the owners and the players. GET OVER YOUR EGOS AND GET THIS DEAL DONE!
I must start by saying I'm not a huge NBA fan. Yes, I like basketball but find the college game more to my liking. I'm a football girl and I spent my summer waiting and hoping and praying that the NFL lockout would end so that I could have my season. I can empathize with the die-hard fans that are going to miss at least two weeks of their season. And there is not much hope that it will be limited to two weeks.
I can understand the players point of view - they signed an agreement six years ago and now the owners want to change it. However, this isn't any different to me than a player asking to renegotiate his contract and holding out at the beginning of a season until the team agrees. Players have been using extortion to get the money they want for years - why shouldn't the owners be given the same option?
I can understand where the owners are coming from - a team that you bought for $300 million is having cash flow problems in this tough economy and cut backs must be made. The owners answer to this is to ask the players for concessions. It's no different than any employer being forced to lay off employees when profits are down. But before you spend $300 million dollars on a basketball team, don't you consider how the economy is? Don't you consider that there might be good times and bad times? It's it YOUR risk as an owner to look at all of the contracts and agreements surrounding a business before you buy?
Both sides made mistakes in the contract that was signed six years ago. And both sides should have to live with those mistakes. The simple fact is that if the economy doesn't pick up, seats will remain empty and dollar dog night won't be enough to get people to buy tickets. People will not spend $125 on a jersey, no matter how much they love their favorite player. The BRI value itself will go down because people can't afford the product that the NBA is offering.
And the real people being hurt in all this are the ones making minimum wage to clean the arenas, park your cars, sell those dollar hot dogs. And what about business owners in the NBA cities? Who's going out for beers at a pub on Tuesday night if they are not going to a basketball game afterwards? How many people will struggle even more in the current economic conditions when you take one of their busiest seasons away from them?
So stop telling us that you are "sorry to report" that you are cancelling games. Stop tweeting about free agency signing deadlines in the NFL. Stop whining that you will have to get a job at Home Depot or mowing lawns in your neighborhoods. Those are honorable jobs and people who try to make ends meet every day work in those places. Perhaps instead of talking about your humble beginnings and about how you made something out of your life you should try to answer these questions: What if it was YOUR mother who was laid off as a ticket-taker at the Q because of the shortened season? What if it was your father who lost his job because the restaurant he worked and couldn't pay the electric bill in December?
REAL people are being hurt by your inability to reach an agreement. It's time to think of the people who MADE you stars for a change and stop thinking about only yourselves. These people are the real losers in all of this.