Professional sports have the world's best publicists. They are giant corporations that get their customers to shout their praises at every opportunity. In fact, they have us believing that it's our civic responsibility to support them. We wear their logos emblazoned on our clothes and cars to show our loyalty - and we pay through the nose for the "privilege."
The NBA has the highest average salary per player in any competitive sport at $3.4 million. That's for eight months per year. That's the equivalent of winning a lottery every year. They make more money in one year than I will make in my lifetime. That's more money per game than I make per year.
I will be the first to recognize that NBA players work very hard for their money. They didn't get to be the best athletes on earth without a lot of exercise and practice. And whether or not they love their job is irrelevant to any discussion about money. Just because they like what they do doesn't mean that they should be paid less for it.
So what are the moral issues involved? None, really. It's business. The owners have the right to decide how much they are willing to pay their employees, and the players have the right to decide whether or not the owners' salary offer is enough to play for them. The issue is not morality, but stupidity. In my opinion, mostly on the part of the players.
Regardless of how you cook the books, the owners are not making a lot of money on these teams compared to the amount they have invested. It is much easier to understand why the owners should expect to make millions . They have poured huge dollars into these teams. The players, on the other hand, came straight from a year or two of college and became instant millionaires. They risked nothing. I have little sympathy for anyone who refuses to work for millions of dollars. According to all the stories I've read, this will be a long work stoppage. The owners will not continue to pay these salaries while they are losing money and the players refuse to give up the money they extorted - er... bargained for - in the last agreement.
Here's where I stand on the issue. My sympathies are with the owners, but neither side is listening to us fans. So if the lockout is still in effect when training camp starts, I will cease blogging until they come to camp. If they are still out when the regular season is scheduled to start, I will delete this blog and the NBA and its players can shove it where the sun don't shine. It's bad enough that I promote their product free of charge, but when they take that product off the shelves, screw 'em.
Listen up, players. The recession has hit my business pretty hard and like most people these days, I'm hurtin'. You have little support among the public. Take a small hit and get back to work. You'll still be getting filthy rich playing a game that most of us would play for free.