You have to love how both sides are making the lockout into some sort of battle of good and evil. Every time you turn around there’s some sort of hyper-dramatic talk about the other side, like they just started discussing euthanasia for puppies or how to steal from children. And today we’ve got an extra nice one from Mo Evans, a players’ rep for the union. From Hoopsworld.com:
“If we were to agree to their deal, it would be the worst collective bargaining agreement in sports history,” Evans told HOOPSWORLD. “We would be a laughing stock. What they proposed to us says nothing about a partnership. We want nothing more than to grow the game and reward these great fans that have shown support for us and the NBA, but their proposal doesn’t reflect that partnership at all. They proposed rollbacks, salary freezes and things that don’t promote any player growth or security. It was such a terrible system.”
Just so we’re clear on this: players will still be paid millions of dollars to play the game of basketball. I’m not trying to oversimplify this. I understand that this is about market value and their strength as the driving source of the league’s income. I am aware of the years, the literal years they spend devoted to getting themselves in a position to play at this level and to remain there. I’m aware of the pain of recovering from injury, the exhaustion, the intensity, the physical toll. I recognize that they are paid what they are worth in our society, and I don’t dispute the price being fair. But let’s not act like the owners are sending them to a coal mine. In the absolute worst case scenario, the average player only makes a couple million dollars.
The owners are taking an unnecessarily hard line. The owners are fabricating stories of how player salaries are the driving force behind losses when they’re actually not. The owners are sinking their own ship to justify building a new one. The owners are not “right” in this argument. But it’s just a business agreement between two extremely well-compensated sides. If the owners win, there’s no big change to the world, nor if the players stay strong. But depriving the fans of the game they love? That affects actual people in a meaningful way. But you won’t hear much of that during this process. Both sides are too busy painting the other as a force of darkness.