The NBA lockout is widely perceived as a fight between billionaires and millionaires -- which is true on the surface -- but if you dig deeper it’s about much more than that. It’s also about over 100,000 people around the country who will lose their jobs or have their pay slashed to a fraction of their salaries in the absence of an NBA season.
There are thousands of people that work in or around each NBA team arena, including workers at restaurants, bars, on public and private transportation, and shops around the arena. Multiply those affected by 30 NBA teams.
The economy is teetering on the verge of another recession and the unemployment rate is already at 9.1% or the unofficial 16.5% unemployment in America, depending on the stats you use. This is not a good time to cause the loss of tens of thousands of more jobs .
And on top of that, the good charitable works that the NBA CARES does throughout the season in many cities across the country will be on hiatus during a protracted lockout, and thousands of people will not receive the extra help that the NBA CARES program provides.
It is high time that the NBA owners and players stop thinking about themselves only and come to an agreement on how to share the billions of dollars that the league earns. These highly privileged men should think about all the people that will lose their jobs, and businesses that will be forced to close; they should think about all the communities across the country that would be hurt by the loss of NBA charities.
The NBA owners and the players should rise above self interest and petty politics, they should reach a compromise to save the season.
While there are no new ideas on the table here is my suggestion to re-open the stalled negotiations.
It seems that the agreement should be in two major parts: one for the players that are already playing at the NBA and a separate agreement for the new players that will play in the NBA in the future.
To negotiate a new agreement for future players – it will be easier to compromise on closing to a 50/50 split of revenue in a few years and solve the other issues over the long-term, so the players who are in the league now, with more leverage, can keep something approaching the status quo.
This way the percentage of players’ salary costs to overall revenue can be weaned from 57% to 54% , and down the road to a more equitable split. This kind of two-tiered plan – that includes an existing players’ agreement and a “new players’ agreement” could lead to final collective bargaining compromise and bring back both sides to the right kind of court.
It’s time to end the legal moves and go back to watching basketball moves. There’s too much at stake for too many people.