By Deitra P. Johnson (www.atlantadailyworld.com)
The National Basketball Association’s ongoing labor dispute between club owners and the National Basketball Players Association has resulted in a complete standstill within the league.
Many thought the “lockout” would be a duplicate of what had just transpired in the National Football League – a down-to-the-wire standoff that would eventually be resolved just in time to begin the opening of the season.
However, on Oct. 20, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced he had canceled training camps and the first two weeks of the 2011-12 regular season because a new collective bargaining agreement between the two sides had not been reached. The cancellation included all games originally scheduled to be played through Nov. 14. Then on Oct. 28, after several meetings between the two sides, came yet another announcement. This time the league was canceling games through Nov. 30.
“We share the frustrations of our fans, partners, and those who rely on our game for their livelihoods,” Silver said.
But do you really?
With the owners and players still haggling over percentages and salary caps at this late date, the NBA dilemma has taken on a personality of its own, threatening the entire season of one of the most lucrative businesses in the United States.
Shaun Powell of NBA.com weighed in by succinctly saying, “the only losers in this labor battle are the thousands of workers whose livelihoods depend on NBA games.”
There is one variable missing from this equation – the public. Not only has the lockout affected thousands of people from coast to coast who depend on the 82 games of these 30 teams in order to make a living, but the fans have not even been considered in the labor disputes that are highly dependent on their contributions to box office revenues.
I suggested making the lockout one of the issues of the Occupy Movement, which is going on nationally. After all, isn’t this corporate greed?
When Sekou Smith, sports writer for NBA.com, recently addressed the issue by allowing frustrated fans to comment on the lockout, one fan wrote, “There is a key party with no representation at the labor negotiations between the players and owners – the fans. The fans are the ones who pay those multimillion-dollar salaries on both sides and buy all those jerseys and other sports