There are a lot of differences between the NFL and NBA lockouts. A lot. Starting with the NFL is a money making league, the NBA has been losing money. That changes things.
Another is that the NFL is better able to withstand the public relations hit of a lockout, something Shane Battier talked about when he was on WFAN in New York recently (via Sports Radio Interviews). Battier is no shrinking violet on the lockout — he suggested that union executive director Billy Hunter take a $1 salary during the lockout.
But Battier also will tell you clearly where the players stand on the lockout right now, echoing the company line that revenue sharing among the owners is key from the players perspective.
“We all know what’s at stake. We can’t afford to go through what the NFL is going through and we can’t afford to lose the fans. I just think we have a perspective after going through this in ’99 that it’s in the best interest of everybody to hammer out a fair deal….
“I don’t know the ins and outs of the flex cap. I think it’s a pretty clever term by Commissioner Stern. The main issues for us are the revenue sharing amongst the big market teams and the small market teams. That will really lead the discussion to what share the players will share with the owners. The league maintains that the revenue sharing is an internal matter and they will take care of it themselves. We think it’s a huge part of the bigger picture, the big collective bargaining discussion. Once we sort of see how the revenues are going to be split amongst the teams I think that will be a huge, huge advantage to getting a deal done.”
One way the NBA and NFL lockouts will be alike — the negotiations will get serious once games are threatened. The NFL is close to having to delay training camps and cancel preseason games, and suddenly a deal is near.
The same will happen in the NBA. When the real deadline of lost games — lost revenue and paychecks — gets close, negotiations will get serious. Whether the NBA owners and players can reach a deal to avoid the loss of games is a good question (I’m trying to be optimistic) but they are not yet even having serious discussions. Everything so far has been posturing.