As I wrote in my last post, any fan who doesn’t live in places like Los Angeles or Miami is not likely to side with the players very much because if the players got their way it would be much harder for smaller market teams to compete. This doesn’t seem to occur to many of the players who have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations. A bigger problem, though, is that the players just don’t seem to understand that many of their complaints don’t make sense to the average fan either because it’s not actually based in reality or because it doesn’t exactly jibe with an economy where so many people are struggling.
Nazr Mohammed has been one of the most vocal in the Twitterverse with his complaints, but he’s certainly not alone. Below, are a few of the most ridiculous complaints and why they simply need to shut up about them.
OWNERS SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO RESTRICT THE MOVEMENT OF PLAYERS
This is one of their biggest complaints, and it’s actually been discussed in different terms. One of the most ridiculous analogies players have come up with is asking whether it would be fair to be an accountant and being told he has to work in a completely different city and that he can’t choose what city he works in.
This doesn’t make sense on so many different levels I’m not sure where to start.
First off, let me tell you about a very good friend of mine, who IS an accountant and worked for a company that ignored his advice on a financial matter, and then eventually had to lay off several people, including him, because it came back and bit them in the ass, which he warned them it would. For six months he looked for a job that would pay him enough and eventually had to move from Vancouver, where he and his wife had lived for the past 17 years, to Edmonton in order to find one. And he’s certainly not the first person who has had to move to a different city for a job. It was a difficult decision for him, but one that probably would have been MUCH easier if the salary he was being offered in Edmonton was anywhere near what and average NBA player makes.
Secondly, their complaint that it’s not fair to force players to work in certain cities doesn’t jibe with reality. No one is actually FORCING them to sign a multimillion dollar contract and play in the NBA. That just happens to be where the cream of their profession goes so if they want to make NBA money and play with the best, they have to give certain things up. How is this different from he actor who, if he wants to make the big money and work on the big projects, having to move to L.A. or New York? Or the stock broker having to move to a city with an actual stock exchange to make the big bucks.
Hell, if I wanted to work for an NBA team myself, I would have to a) find and NBA team that will hire me and b) move to a different city to work for them. Should I be whining that I can’t work for an NBA team wherever I want?
NBA players get paid an exorbitant amount of money to play a sport for a living. The reasons they get paid so much is because their careers aren’t very long and because they are very good at what they do. Like any profession, you give up certain things in order to make more than everyone else. The average NBA player makes more money in a few years than a lot of people make in a lifetime. For those years where they are making this money, they are required to play by certain rules. Calling it tantamount to slavery is an insult not only to history, but to anyone with a brain.
The biggest problem with this complain, though, is that players seemed to have confused “incentive” with “restriction”. The NBA is actually not attempting to restrict player movement. They are simply giving players more financial incentive to stay with their original team. That’s not restrictive. And to complain that it is makes it appear you don’t have a basic understanding of either term. No one is preventing Chris Paul from signing ANYWHERE he want to in the NBA. What they are doing is saying that if Paul wants to make as much as he can, like the actor who wants to make top dollar, he has to give up certain things in order to do it. Dictating where you go is one of those things.
IT’S THE OWNERS FAULT THEY AREN’T MAKING MONEY, SO WHY MAKE THE PLAYERS PAY FOR IT?
In some ways the players are right. The fault lies somewhat with the owners for the financial straits the team is currently in. Of course, that doesn’t exactly tell the whole story. There are several reasons why the league is in the financial straits it’s in. One of which is the recently expired CBA. If the last CBA had been a little more owner friendly, then the owners wouldn’t be taking such a hard line this time.
And what the players don’t seem to understand is the position the owners are in. If they don’t win, then they lose fans and money. And in order to win, you need to pay for the players. The hard line owners are also NOT generally the ones who brought the NBA to where it is financially, with so many teams going way over the cap. It’s the rich teams that have done that. And they’ve basically screwed the rest of the owners in order to do it. So yes, the owners are at fault, but if Indiana wants to compete with New York, you either have to give Indiana the money that New York has, which is impossible, or make it more difficult for New York to spend the money that Indiana doesn’t have.
A quote that recently has come back to haunt Michael Jordan is when he told former Washington Wizards owner, Abe Pollin, that if he can’t make money with the team, then he should sell it. Players obviously are now jumping on Jordan for being hypocritical when it doesn’t seem to have dawned on them that maybe he was simply wrong when he initially said that and with him being on the other side of the issue, now, he simply has a better understanding.
While it’s certainly easier for ignorant players (or former players) to condemn Jordan, what they should be doing is realizing that maybe he just knows more than they do, now. It’s like condemning a war veteran for protesting a war as being hypocritical. Maybe being on both sides gives one a bit more of an understanding.
Jordan has come to realize, obviously, that he simply can’t compete financially with the big market teams. Sure, managing your team better would be a good start, but levelling the playing field is needed, as well.
THE OWNERS ARE NOT NEGOTIATING IN GOOD FAITH
Well, first of all, I see both sides trying to get desperately what they want and using whatever leverage they can. The owners are the only ones at the table that can actually LOSE MONEY based on the negotiations so it’s understandable that they are doing everything in their power to try and prevent that. On the other hand, no matter what the players agree to, most of them will be set for life after only a few years of playing (as long as they don’t squander that money, which is a different issue, though related one, altogether).
And while there are some militant owners who, no doubt, are making things difficult for the players, the players association aren’t helping. Take some of the rumours that have come out, presumably from players who have simply not been informed by their own representatives:
“The agreement contains a clause that allows any NBA team to send a player to the NDBL AND only pay him the pro-rated NDBL $75,000 while there”
Now, if that were actually true, I can see why players would object. If you sign a guy to a bad deal, you just send him to the NBDL and you don’t have to pay it. The problem is, it’s apparently not true. There is no mention whatsoever of the NDBL in the latest proposal from the league.
“The NBA is trying to take away Bird -rights”
The clause made famous by Larry Bird, which allows a team to go over the cap in order to re-sign it’s own player is also not mentioned in the latest proposal, or in any of them, as far as I know.
The problem is that the union is not only not communicating very well with it’s own members, but allowing them (and their agents) to spread completely fictitious rumours in order to, presumably, try and get players to vote against the proposal. And if you have to lie to players to get them to vote no, I don’t understand how that’s negotiating in good faith.