If you want a nice perspective on where this whole lockout thing stands, just go ask the reigning 3-point champion. I know that sounds odd. But James Jones in a recent interview with the AP put things nicely in perspective about the difference between the owners and the players.
“They’re holding fast to what they want and what they’ve asked for,” Jones said, speaking of owners. “We’ve made some concessions and agreed to move it in the right direction. But moving in the right direction isnt enough. They want it all.”
That’s pretty much where the lockout is at. Public sentiment is going to be against the players. That makes more sense on the surface than most hardcore hoops guys would think. Your average guy working your normal 9-5 job simply isn’t going to have any sympathy for the players he watches on television getting paid to play a game. I’ve certainly got little sympathy for a guy having to sell one of his five cars with my busted Pontiac needing a new battery. It’s a normal response.
But this lockout really is on the players. In the past I’ve been pro-owner, depending on the issue, but here, there’s little room for wiggle. The players aren’t asking for more (though they would if they were afforded the opportunity). They just don’t want to lose everything. And James is correct in that the players have made compromises in their proposals. The owners? They took a hard line, then took a softer hard line and called it compromise.
This has become something worse than just a business negotiation, which is all it should be. It’s an ideological battle over control, over the players’ control over setting their market value, over the owners’ ability to guarantee a profit. And ideological conflicts aren’t settled with compromise. They’re settled with figurative bloodshed. Unless the players can figure out a way to swing the control of this to their side (Europe, exhibitions, overwhelming public sentiment), the owners may get what they want… all of it.