As the 2011 Major League Baseball season began and the weather heated up, the sports world prepared for lockouts in two of the major four professional sports for the first time... ever. And, for fans that are oblivious to the financial aspect of professional sports, or can only comprehend that professional athletes make a ton of money, the reasoning behind the work stoppage wasn't totally clear. For starters, both the National Football League and the National Basketball Association were coming off extremely exciting seasons that featured breakout stars, epic games and insane highlights that all led up to a fantastic championship game or series. Jersey and ticket sales were up, television contracts were extending and there was a buzz across the country resulting in fans' high anticipation for the next season. But still, the billionaire owners couldn't resist taking a shot at the players' salaries and team's cap room, leaving many fans, including me, bewildered and shocked at the ridiculousness of the owners' behavior.
Now, before I get factual... are the owners kidding me??? It's understandable that the average fan who earns an annual income of $250,000 occasionally complains about or argues that professional athletes make too much money. However, those players' bosses, if anyone, should understand just how justified players' salaries actually may be. And the owners also should look straight into the mirror to see the blame for the incredulous amounts of money athletes make, as they're the culprits for pumping endless amounts of money into a bidding war and sheer back-stabbing blood bath that fans and the media call free agency. Think about it. If people were willing to pay $100 dollars to sit 50 feet away from a competitive cashier checking league straight out of Employee Of the Month and each cashier "played" for their respective store, then the owner of that store would have to pay the cashier an increased amount of money in order to compensate for the money the cashier made during competitions. Every business, including professional sports, bases all of its financial decisions off of supply and demand. If people are willing to pay for your product and your business is lucrative, you're going to have to increase the salaries of your employees to correlate to your increase in revenue or else your players will strike -- and it happened during the 1994 MLB season. In both Leagues' situation, the players are (well, for the NFL, were) only trying to get the best deal on their end of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and yes, both sides needed to meet halfway. However, the owner's reasoning for these lockouts were straight-up dumb.
Recently, Forbes estimated the Dallas Cowboys to be worth approximately $1.85 billion. And it makes a whole lotta sense that the Cowboys only got to that status based off of the players' on-field success, that led to fans ticket, jersey and other apparel purchases, that led to the owners' ultimate benefit. This cycle continues year after year and creates more and more money for the owners. Now don't get me wrong, the NFL got into labor discussions, worked out a new CBA deal and now we're in the midst of the beginning of the 2011 NFL season. But, the original lockout was moronic. If the owners' and players' primary role in life is to be involved with the NFL, there is no reason why the discussions couldn't take place over a series of meetings for two weeks and then be over with. If the MAJORITY of your life is devoted to football, the MAJORITY of your life during this past summer should have been devoted to the CBA discussions. I simply don't understand the necessity of taking weeks at a time off in order to rally your troops and come back to another meeting with new tactics and schemes to earn the better part of the deal. For the owners, who already were complaining about the lack of percentage of the team's total earnings they receive, they had no reason to want to postpone a season that would only result in their financial benefit. And of course the players wanted a season so that they could earn their paychecks. But, I digress, as the CBA dispute is over and the season is under way.
The NBA, on the other hand, is still in the midst of a pile of crap that's larger and smellier than the waste that comes out of the GEICO Caveman's butt. Again, I believe that the prolonged length of a lockout is completely and totally unnecessary, but I don't need to argue that point again. However, I'd like to note another idiotic aspect to this current lockout. In a July 1st article written by Chris Sheridan, ESPN.com reported, "Coaches, general managers and other front-office officials are allowed to follow players on Twitter, for example, but they can't send them a message or re-tweet a player's message." How pathetic is that? It's as if the owners were the A-List popular kids and jocks in high school, and David Stern, the head cheerleader, told all of the cool kids that they couldn't talk to the former cool kid (the players as a whole) because she was mean to her. Let's save the unnecessary drama for teenagers. The owners' side of the dispute is that the CBAs of years past have only resulted in losses for the owners. But the owners won't make any money at all this season if they don't make any extensive efforts to cater towards the player's wants. They need to stop complaining that the players are being uncooperative in negotiations and get this job done.
Personally, I absolutely despise the Los Angeles Lakers and every player on their roster. However, no matter how annoyed Derek Fisher's well-spoken and confident character makes me, I know he is probably the most mature, professional and responsible player in the league to be put in the position as the NBA Player's Association President and main player representative in these discussions. If he, alongside NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter, is being uncooperative and disrespectful during meetings, then they sky isn't blue, ice cream isn't delicious and Barry Bonds didn't take steroids. The fact is, the NBA owners can't afford to miss out on a season and they're not taking the right approach towards making that happen. They need to increase their efforts unless when the 2012 baseball season commences, they still want to be skipping out on trips to the beach to continue grinding out this ridiculous labor dispute and ludicrous lockout.
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