The NBA has problems. Tony Siragusa sized problems. By comparison the NFL should be counting its lucky stars.
Currently two of the most successful sports leagues in the world are mired in labor strife yet only one of them is truly in dire need of repair.
While NFL owners and players haggle over how to best divide a $9-billion pie, the NBA is on the verge of extinction as franchises scuffle over scraps.
How exactly did we get this far into the NFL lockout? Answering that question is simple – greed.
When owners use the lockout card as a last resort to grab an extra billion you know something is very wrong. We didn’t need the NBA to lock its doors in order to realize this. But now there is a stark contrast that illuminates just how money hungry the NFL truly is.
NFL owners have no concern over revenue sharing. The NFL model for sharing the wealth is by far the most profitable in all of the land. NFL owners don’t lose sleep over guaranteed contracts. They are free to sign players to multi-year deals with lucrative dollar figures only to rip those contracts to shreds mere months later with no future costs incurred.
In short, NFL owners are sitting pretty yet feel the need to act ugly.
Now let’s not cry a river of Gatorade for the NBA. Much like NFL owners the NBA also negotiated a bad deal and now want a bailout from their employees. Greed is as greed does and right now greed is killing professional sports.
It’s getting more and more difficult to see any reason to side with ownership. If they’re supposed to be this united front of wise businessmen they why can’t they get on the same page when it comes to playing their players?
Better yet, why is it that there is even a need to lockout players that have contracts agreed upon by ownership?
The time to conduct a lockout for the NBA was the second Minnesota gave Kevin Garnett a bank breaking deal. For the NFL the time to conduct a lockout was the second unproven draftees were getting deals worth more than season vets.
The entire system is out of sorts. On one hand you’ve got rich guys crying they’re not rich enough. On the other hand you’ve got rich guys crying they’re going broke.
Where does the truth exist?
Lost in all of this mess, naturally, are the fans. Without fans not a single wealthy person would have any desire to own any professional franchise. For the NFL, it would seem nearly impossible to destroy the league. No matter how long the lockout lasts the fans will come back. That is not the case for the NBA.
It wasn’t until recently that the NBA began to get its legs back. Ratings have been steadily climbing while public interest increases each year. Then along comes a nice work stoppage to send the entire product back to Mulberry.
NFL owners should be begging the NFLPA to put their 4th plans on hold in order to construct a deal. If ever there was a time to check the egos and get back to the business of pleasing football fans its now.
There is nowhere for the NFL greed to hide any longer. The NBA turned over the last rock of selfishness by allowing its CBA to expire. All that remains now is to watch as one league argues over wealth while another scraps over whatever is left on the plate.
Luckily for Roger Goodell he sits atop an enterprise that is near bulletproof. He can sit back and admire the arrogant nature of his constituency knowing all along his product will go undamaged. Not the case for David Stern.
Unfortunately for the fans, we’re all too miserable to realize we hold all the power in our hands. Imagine how quickly the lockout would have ended had season tickets ceased to be sold league-wide. In the end, we’re all just mindless consumers happy to watch our hard earned money become a fourth home for some owner’s spoiled children.
Enjoy the lockout, NBA fans. It’s not ending anytime soon.
As for the NFL…well…it really doesn’t matter. The owners will find someway to get their extra billion even if it means adding two more games and charging fans twice as much. That’s the way the business of football is done and it won’t change until we the fans force a change.