Friday, July 1, 2011

Stupid is as Stupid Does

So let me get this straight to make sure I’m not missing something. 
The NFL has just surpassed day one-hundred plus days of a lockout, the NBA had one of the best playoff runs in recent memory capitalized by a fantastic win by the Dallas Mavericks whom everyone thought they would be just a historic footnote to the Miami Heat’s impending dynasty and the game’s best Euros led the leagues best squad to a team victory over a cast of individuals. 
The National Basketball Association hasn’t seen the popularity of its game rise to such levels since the last disastrous lockout and they are willing to tank all the goodwill they have amassed over the last 10 years for what exactly?  The owners want a bigger piece of the pie and want the players to take less?  They want a hard salary cap and a rookie pay scale in place among other things because they say they are losing money.
And how exactly is that the players’ fault?
The last time I checked, the Knicks, Heat, Lakers and Mavericks pay whatever they can to get whomever they want and not one player has stuck a gun to their heads demanding this or that.  They just exercise their options to go elsewhere to get the money they want or feel that they are worth.  It is not their fault that these owners will pay big dollars for players they should be cautious about (Eric Dampier, Allan Houston, Tariq-Abdul Wahed) and then complain when they barely get the production they were expecting but everyone was warning about. 
It’s not their fault the owners overpay sometimes out of spite to keep someone else from getting another player even though they know in their heart they do not need them let alone they barely fit into their system.  It’s not the players fault that these owners throw money around like candy and then look for someone else to blame when they go in the red.  And it’s definitely not the players’ fault when owners like Donald Sterling barely cares about keeping their franchises afloat, could care less about the fans and are only in it for the bottom line and nothing else.
So because of their stupidity and willingness to run through money like coke heads, they have decided to lock the players out until they can come to a resolution that will save them form themselves.  And in the process they have decided to punish the fans, their employees and their respective cities as well all because they do not know how to manage their finances and expect others to make sacrifices for their sake of their revenue.  Please!
What I truly find ridiculous in this particular situation is their inability to read the environment that they have haplessly forged their way into.  You already have the country’s most popular sport on hiatus for the exact same reason and if they were to look closely the fans are none too pleased about the bickering between the two.  There seems to be no resolution in sight and the season is in danger of being delayed because the sides cannot agree on the difference of a few hundred million dollars (I know it sounds ridiculous).
And instead of learning from the mistakes the NFL made and try to seriously negotiate before the season ended, the powers that be decided they would rather take this to the mat at the last hour.  And in my opinion, this is what makes the NBA the worse run establishment in the sports world.  Do they remember what happened the last time there was a work stoppage in their sport because I do.  College basketball saw viewership increase because fans soured on the both players and owners. 
Same thing happened with Major League Baseball.  Remember how long it took to get fans to go back to those games?  Hell they had to run a league full of cheaters in order to get attendance back to respectable levels and it still took at least eight years for people to really give a damn and attend consistently. 
However, what those interruptions didn’t have was the ever presence of a terrible economy looming overhead.  And there is nothing more devastating than having regular people spending what little hard earned money they have only to be  stuck in the middle of a slap fight between millionaires and billionaires while they are wondering how they are going to buy groceries, pay a bill or buy medicine.  It doesn’t make sense to the common fan that wants to take their kid to their first game and the only thing they can afford is parking and tickets because two groups of wealthy individuals are wondering how in the world they will get by with one-hundred thousand less dollars in their pocket when they are already making tens of millions.  Explain that when attendance suffers and remains stagnant for a long time.
They can’t and that is the real tragedy of this fight.  All of these leagues have failed to see what MLB and the National Hockey League had to learn the hard way; you cannot lose the fans and claim victory for anything.  They will suffer and suffer mightily all because of arrogance, selfishness and stupidity because in the end the real losers will be the fans who will ultimately foot the bill to pad the pockets of greedy individuals claiming to have our best interest at heart somewhere in these negotiations.        
All of the talking heads have claimed they expect the lockout to be protracted and there is the possibility there may not even be a next season which would be a tragedy on two fronts.  The first being the longer the fans are denied the game, the more interest wanes and David Stern will not be happy about that.  The second is the longer the lockout is in place the longer the Mavericks would be champions and Mark Cuban continues to walk around with the O’Brien Trophy and David Stern will definitely not be happy with that. 
Faced with those two options, Stern might want to get on the phone with Bud Selig and get some pointers, stat!

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