I'm bitter. This past week I could have been watching the first week of the NBA season. Instead, I'm not watching anything at all. There's nothing on to fill the void. Major League Soccer? Not my cup of tea. World Series of Poker? No, thank you. I'm looking for LeBron and Kobe. Football picks up the slack on the weekend, of course, but that can't fill the emptiness left by my beloved NBA.
After a banner 2010-11 season, the player's union and owners embarked on a lengthy lockout, which has already produced the cancellation of all November games.
I understand what's going on...to a certain extent. I'm not a litigator but I know the players think they're getting a raw deal and the owners aren't willing to go on with a "broke system" that is costing many teams to lose money. Even for someone who's been following it, it's hard to grasp the particulars and what it all means.
Here's what I know for sure: the games aren't being played, and the players need to take whatever deal is in front of them right now. NBA Commissioner David Stern has been down this road before (see the 1999 NBA season). He's not going to accept a deal that's less than what he considers good. It's his league, he runs it, he controls it....and the owners own the teams, obviously. He's cancelled games before and he's done it again. That means the players have no leverage in these dealings.
It's a big, convoluted mess that makes fans nauseous. At least the NFL knew enough to get a deal figured out in the off season and avoid any regular season cancellations. The NBA is willing to put its growing popularity at risk by dragging on with this lockout.
I blame the players, players' union, union executive director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher. The owners might not be offering the best deal, but it's getting worse and worse every day. The league and owners are in the driver's seat. It's the players that aren't going to get paid if this lockout continues. I'm pretty sure the business men that own NBA teams have other sources of income to get by in the meantime.
I don't know the inner workings of these negotiations and I don't care at this point. Get the games going is my only concern. And that means the players have to fold.
The time for a players' stand has passed. Negotiations have expired. The players lost. Take the deal and get back on the court. NBA fans everywhere need it.