Dear NBA Players Association: You’ve Won, Now Stop Acting Like Spoiled BabiesBy Luis Prada
I love me some basketball. But due to the NBA lockout, there is no basketball. So, by the transitive property of basketball transmitted love, I am currently depressed and lonely.
The reason professional athletes, or even unionized factory workers, go on strike isn’t usually greed, it’s about updating their civil rights and their pay in light of a new time and new era they live in. They simply want to ensure that they aren’t getting the last decade’s wages and benefits. It’s kind of like a software update but for money. Every so often they show how serious they are about their demands by collectively not showing up to work and hammering out a deal with management.
This is what the NBA Players Association (NBAPA) has been doing since before the 2011-2012 season was set to begin, and it’s what they’re still trying to do just over a month in to what would have been the 2011-2012 season. Personally, I’m all for workers unions, even unions for professional athletes, as large, dam-breaking amounts of money flowing into the pockets of owners and CEOs and Vice Presidents and various other forms of management, tends to make these high-ranking managerial types build impenetrable dams of their own around said money; thus ensuring the money never flows anywhere else. The phrase “trickle down” comes to mind.
Of course, whenever an athletic union goes on strike, the fans tend to call bullshit and place the blame on the players, claiming (and rightly so in the cases of some high profile, highly paid star players) that they’re getting paid a ridiculous amount of money as it is to play a game and should stop complaining. This argument tends to ignore the guys on the lower rung of the professional sports ladder; the wandering journey of every sports league; the role players that will never have their names on jerseys that will sell like hot cakes, or sign massive endorsement deals with Nike of ADIDAS. These deals are usually for them, and not the marquee players. It’s for the guys that whose professional careers may end if they get cut from the roster in the off-season.
And that’s exactly what the NBAPA got from the owner’s association, as the owners placed on the table a deal that would split all league profits 50/50 with players. That right there is the definition of fairness and compromise. You get half, I get half. Done deal.
And then the NBAPA rejected the offer, claiming it was somehow unfair. And then the NBAPA certified themselves as a union, which essentially amounts to one side in an argument plugging their ears and shouting over the other person’s voice.
Now, I can’t believe I’m about to do this, but the player’s unions is dead-goddamn-wrong. By not taking a 50/50 comprise you have you have made yourself look like greedy tools whose well-being shouldn’t be cared about. If you can’t live off of billions upon billions of dollars annually, then what does that say about you? Sure, the owners also look like tools for waiting 2 ½ years to finally muster up the courage to propose a 50/50 deal, something some players (like Kobe Bryant) have been championing for a while now, but for the players to reject that offer just makes them look shallow and iron-fisted.
It may be en vogue to hurl the blame for today’s societal ills on the super-rich, as a good deal of it should in this day and age, but this is one case, and maybe one of the few cases in the past few decades, in which a massive, multi-billion dollar corporate entity has actually presented a good deal to a union.
And then the union passed on the offer.