The NFL is well-entrenched in a lockout this offseason, one many fans are sick of hearing about. The owners and players are busy trying to divide up a $9 billion pie, but fans are getting sick of it.
Now that July is upon us, its time for commissioner Roger Goodell and Players' Association executive DeMaurice Smith to settle this thing. Teams need to prepare for the upcoming season and free agents need to be able to sign with a team. And the people who live and die with fantasy football need to get their drafts lined up.
I have very little doubt the NFL will work out a deal and avoid missing any games this upcoming season. I've never worried about the NFL getting this thing done. There will be NFL games, starting as planned. I'm confident.
The NBA, on the other hand, doesn't make me so optimistic.
As of midnight, June 30, the NBA locked out its players due to an expiring collective bargaining agreement. They wanted in on the lockout fun. I don't like trying to break down the legal matters between the league and players' union representatives, but I can look at the past.
Let's go back to June of 1998 - the last NBA lockout. NBA commissioner David Stern wasn't afraid to shut down the season until February in order to get a deal he liked. It cost the league, players, teams and fans 32 games that year.
Nothing reported in the early stages of this lockout makes me believe Stern won't do something very similar this time around, or more. Hall of Famer and NBA analyst Charles Barkley says he doesn't think "they're going to play at all next season."
According to the league, the financial system is broken. They claim the league lost $300 million last year, and 22 of 30 teams lost money. Very troubling, if true.
Certainly NBA players' salaries have gotten out of control. Without citing any specifically, trust me when I tell you they are astronomically outrageous in some cases.
There are big issues that need to be ironed out with the NBA's finances. For that, I understand the lockout and determination to get a new collective bargaining agreement. But you can only cut salaries so much at that level. The LeBron James's and Kobe Bryants of the world bring in a ton of money for the league, so it needs to be some what fair.
This is an unpopular stance, but it seems like for a league that claims to be hemorrhaging money like the NBA does, contraction may be a real solution. The NBA already owns the New Orleans Hornets, making that franchise the first to go. I'm not saying they need to cut a bunch of teams, but maybe one or two wouldn't be such a bad idea from a financial standpoint.
The NBA players are talking tough about not caving to the league and owner's demands, but can they really win this fight? I would say this to the players: Fight the good fight for as long as you can but don't jeopardize an entire season. It's just too good of a product.