We have seemingly reached a crucial point in the negotiations for a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. NBA Commissioner David Stern has issued an ultimatum to the Players Association; to either accept the current deal on the table submitted by the Association by Wednesday, or the offer will be pulled and replaced by a deal far less player friendly. If the NBA Players Association decides not to accept the current offer then we are most likely looking at decertification of the players union, and the players will take the Association to court in an anti-trust suit.
All that could ultimately lead to the destruction of the NBA itself; over the sum of $100 million dollars. The negotiations have turned ugly; they have basically become a spitting contest in which both sides are coming off looking very badly. All the public perceives is a bunch of spoiled billionaires vs. millionaires; while millions in this country are one paycheck away from being out on the street.
Meanwhile as the two sides battle it out; there are thousands of people across the nation who are also being effected economically by the current NBA Lockout. These people don’t bring home the paychecks that players and owners do; although the missed income surely does them far more harm than it does to the players or the owners. I am referring to the support staff; ushers and concessionaires, parking lot attendants and waiters. The people that count on these games so that they can put food on the table that everybody seems to forget. Through no fault of their own they are being deprived of revenue that keeps their houses heated, not buy a new Lamborghini.
I have written countless times over the last few months, of how the fans are being cheated out of a game that they have grown to love and had reached new heights the past few years. It took years for the Association to recover from the last work-stoppage and there are no guarantees it can survive another extended lockout; especially with the entertainment dollar being as tight as it is. However the workers and the fans seem to be taken for granted by the NBA, and that kind of perception can be deadly to the Association. Sure lip service has been paid, but that is still not giving the workers a paycheck, or the fans the game they sorely miss.
Things could get even more ugly over the next few months; or calmer heads can prevail and work out a deal that both sides can live with. Do it for the game, but even more importantly do it for the people who depend on the NBA for income and enjoyment.