Posted by Royce Young
I'm on the players' side. Let me get that out there first.
I see their position as more reasonable than the owners'. I've never liked the idea of the owners trying to guarantee themselves profits. I've never liked the reality that they are probably negotiating without the intention to really get a deal done before games are lost. I don't like the idea that they are asking for so much -- salary cuts, grand system changes and major revenue concessions from the players.
If I was drawing a line in the sand, I'm going to stand on the players' side.
That said, I really wish they would shut up.
After David Stern announced the first two weeks of the NBA were canceled because a deal couldn't be made in the eleventh hour, the players climbed atop their soap box and went to work. They started tweeting. Steve Nash tweeted, "Genuinely sorry to all the employees in and around NBA arenas losing work." Andrew Bogut tweeted, "Ticket ushers, local bars/clubs/food, police officers, security, in arena food and drink, hotels,local small businesses,should I keep going? We understand owners have to make $ and that is what its all come down too. We just want to play. The following ppl are the 1s who get hurt."
And if you followed along Monday, the players started a little social media campaign declaring "LET US PLAY!" much like the NFL players did during their lockout. The players want to play. They're trying to make that clear.
But they're also using some slimy PR to do so. "Let us play" and all the tweets following Stern's announcing about "just wanting to play ball" try and make it seem like the players have no hand in what's going on. They're trying to put out a message that it's entirely the league and entirely the owners preventing them from putting on their uniforms and shooting a round ball through a hoop. They're begging -- "please, PLEASE let us play!" -- as if they have no control over anything. As if for no good reason, the owners put locks on the arena doors and are keeping them out.
Here it is, plain and simple: You really want to play? You really want to put these ticket takers and security guards you supposedly feel so awful for back to work? Put your money where your tweets are. Prove it. Make a deal.
I tweeted this same sentiment last night and Kevin Durant tweeted back, "u want us to take that 47/53 deal huh? U kno that's bogus." Yeah, it is but honestly, I don't really care what you take. I just want basketball. And if you REALLY do too, you'll take a few thousand less a year in order to play.
Now I know: The owners' 47 percent BRI split isn't exactly a fair deal. And neither is asking for salary rollbacks, a hard cap or whatever else. I'm with you. I get it. I'd feel inclined to tell the owners to shove it too. You want a deal that's fair to you and to future players. If the league's going to experience billions in revenue, you want your rightful cut. Especially since those billions come mainly as a result of you. Again, I understand. What's fair is fair.
But don't treat me like I'm an idiot (though I very well may be). "Let us play" isn't an honest representation of the players' situation. We're not stupid. We're fully capable of grasping why there's a lockout and why the NBA will be missing games. You want your money and the owners want theirs. There's a lot to split up and you want to make sure you get a fair shake of it.
But let's not sugarcoat this crap anymore. You're a millionaire because you play basketball well enough that someone will pay you for it. You make a really good living doing that job. And regardless of whatever deal you agree to, you're still going to make a crapton of money doing that job. Is it fair? Maybe not. But go ahead and feel sorry for yourself while you sleep on a mattress filled with money.
If you want to play, you can. All you have to do is say yes. I understand why you haven't and I don't blame you for it. But don't try and make us think that all you want to do is play basketball. Don't try and trick fans into feeling sorry for you.
Be honest: You want to play but you want your cut too. And that's why those ticket takers and security guards and parking garage attendants won't have work for a couple weeks at least. Don't act like there's not blood on your hands too. It's insulting.
Forget trying to gain sympathy from fans. We're not dumb. We know why the league canceled games. We know why you're not allowed to play. Billionaires and millionaires couldn't agree about money. And we feel so sorry for you about that.