It's kind of amazing it took this long. But now, some 140 days into the lockout, one New York state senator is organzing "Occupy the NBA."
Via the NY Daily News, Sen. Malcolm A. Smith is putting together what he calls a "national movement" to protest the NBA's work stoppage along with restaraunt owners, season ticket holders, arena workers and disgruntled basketball fans in general.
And if David Stern and Billy Hunter don’t settle their differences in the next four weeks, Smith said the protest will move across the country in “A Day of Solidarity” on Dec. 11. Smith said he has contacted officials in Chicago and Los Angeles who are willing to organize similar protests in front of their respective NBA arena.
Smith said he reached out to other community leaders — including the Rev. Al Sharpton — after hearing complaints from constituents who “sell T-shirts, park cars or work in the restaurant.” At a press conference last week, the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association estimated bar receipts were down about 30% from last year since July — although regular-season games weren’t supposed to start until November.
Yeah, this is totally going to work. But that's probably not the intention. Like the Occupy Wall Street movement, it's more about message than results. (At least that's what I think the point is.) Obviously the overall goal would be for the lockout to end, but Smith is trying to take up the baton for the forgotten of this lockout -- the bar owners, restaraunt owners, t-shirt stand guys, the parking lot attendants. They haven't had a voice during these past few months so Smith is going to try and give them one. A noble effort, I say.
“What you’re really talking about is a number of people on the low end of the totem pole who need their jobs to allow them to continue to keep their families alive and moving forward,” Smith told the Daily News. “If you don’t want to settle it, we have season-ticket holders who want back their money. You have it, give it back. Stop bickering about the millions of dollars that you guys already make. And think about the little person.“We will definitely be expecting a response from (commissioner Stern and union president Derek Fisher),” Smith said. “If you need me, I’ll sit down and help you negotiate the deal if you have to.”
One thing Smith is pushing for? Refunds on all season tickets whether or not games are played. The NBA has already promised full refunds on purchased tickets for canceled games, but Smith wants the league to pay out for games even if they're played.Yeah, good luck with that.