The players are lucky that the owners are not sipping Mai-Tais in their Alexander McQueen flip flops on their gold-plated lawn chairs on the surface of their yachts. This does not mean that the players should be discouraged from trying to keep at least a piece of what they believe is owed to them. The owners expect these men to dig them out of a hole that was created by the owners themselves.
The players were not recruited into this league to pay for the owners’ financial mistakes, nor should they be forced to give up another 2.5% because the owners want to punch them in the gut. Yet, this is still business. Slip over to the NFL and watch the “fairness” of Matt Forte’s lack of a contract extension. After showing honor and trust in a system that does not usually work in the favor of running backs, Forte is being screwed out of what a majority of the world would say is his fair share of the pie.
The NBA players say they do not want to be treated as the NFL players are, as slaves, and they are doing everything in their power to keep themselves from experiencing the same type of vulnerability they see just a league over.
However, would you like to know the difference between the NBA’s labor struggles and the NFL’s active play? Some may say integrity. Others will say passion. Me? I just say it is cut-and-dry active paychecks.
The NBA players could come forth and say that all they want to do is to play. But, nothing could be further from the truth. It may be in their most honest tone. Yet, it is challenging to believe that the love of the game is all that is churning in those business-inclined brains of theirs.
If it were just about playing the game, the NBPA would have agreed on the 50/50 revenue split and we would not be having this conversation right now. The statement plays well in the media, but the tweets and public statements are beginning to fall on deaf ears. This may have been David Stern’s plan all along. But, has that stopped it from working?
The players have actually begun to crumble from the inside. Fisher and Hunter can deny reports all they wish, but the fact remains that there are men on his side of the table that are losing faith in his judgment. JaVale McGee’s notion that players are beginning to shift against their own is not the disconcerting report that I am referring to.
According to Jerry Stackhouse’s comments, he does not believe in Fisher one bit. Kind of like the Tim Tebow syndrome in the Denver Broncos organization. Sure he is a good guy and you might let him date your daughter. He has that type of honor and good moral compass about him.
But, he is no good leading the charge. He just does not know what he is doing. Stackhouse goes on to praise David Stern’s accomplishments in the league and the direction that he has led the league in. Somehow I am reluctant to think that Stern is the end-all be-all in the equation, but I’ll move briskly along to allow you to draw your own conclusions.
The craziest thing above all is that Stackhouse fervently believes in his statements, or at least attempted to call attention to Derek Fisher’s reportedly shifty behavior behind enemy lines.
“I don’t know [if Derek met with the NBA],” Stackhouse said. “I would hope not. I don’t think Derek is that kind of guy from what I’ve seen. But at the same time, he does have aspirations to possibly be a G.M. one day. If he can be the guy to bring the sides together in whatever way, maybe there would be an oppportunity for him to be a G.M. I’m not saying that he has an ulterior motive but the possibility lies there.”
He does not seem to understand that the words coming out of his mouth do nothing but hurt the players’ cause and this is exactly what the owners were depending on. Fisher may not be the greatest negotiator, nor does he have to be (as I’m sure there are skilled economists, negotiators, accountants, etc. to help validate his points).
But, telling players to stand strong even as the battle trailed on was not solely for his personal gain. It was for the good of what the players were trying to accomplish. David Stern has a gag order on the owners. You talk, you pay. The fines are as simple as that. That is where Stern got it right.
Coming out into the public and allowing those heavily involved and emotionally invested to speak to the tune of the frail nature of those who stand beside them is not the best option. At least not when striking with the approach of the poker face. Both sides have been eerily mismanaged, but players continue to compound the idiocy by coming forth and stating a case against their own.
Cue the Mai-Tais. I think Mark Cuban smells another victory.