Sugene Lee

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

NBA is Back!

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2011 at 7:04 am

149 days of no NBA has been heck. Haven’t written in here in months because school has been so hectic and the only thing going on was the lockout, which I wrote an essay on. While I was writing that paper, I realized this is something I truly want to do. I’ve never enjoyed writing an essay so much.

Anyway… back to good news!

I remember checking my twitter Friday night/early Saturday morning and seeing tweets by journalists saying the lockout was over. Never have I been so excited! Yes, it’s only a tentative agreement, and I still don’t like the owners, but bringing the NBA back on Christmas is the perfect gift.

Aside from all the lockout drama… I can finally start practicing writing articles, too! Just too excited…


“Sources say” that the Clippers will do just about anything, besides trade Blake Griffin, to get Dwight Howard! Chris Paul is also considering the Clippers (NYK as his #1 choice). But either one of them on the Clippers. Guess who’s taking over L.A?!


The Los Angeles Clippers


Issues Paper I wrote for my writing class

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2011 at 6:18 am

NBA Lockout: The Blame Game

            After 149 days of the NBA lockout, the war is over. The lockout officially ended early Saturday morning on November 26, 2011. Despite the anticipation of another amazing NBA season, when a battle between billionaires and millionaires struck, the billionaires were favored to come out on top. In the case of the NBA lockout, the owners held the 2011-2012 season to a halt due to disagreements on the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA). Thirty team owners who have billions of dollars in their pockets selfishly, not only prevented the professional basketball players from making money, but also the arena workers, ticket sellers, janitors, ushers, and more. With millions of fans waiting for another great season of basketball, these egotistic men held onto their worldly desires. As a result of these money hungry businessmen, the players’ union took the NBA to court. With all the preseason games canceled in addition to more than twenty regular season games, millions of dollars were lost. Some believe the players were to blame for causing the lockout and the owners stood in the right position to take charge. However, in reality, the owners were to blame because of their selfishness, their actions of turning negotiations into threats, and taking advantage of their powers.

The longer the lockout continued the more people believed the players were to blame. Also, CNN polls reveal that the general public blamed the players over the owners. The lack of sympathy increased when these millionaire athletes demanded for more money. Likewise, “many of these consumers express such disgust with the bickering between two sets of very wealthy individuals that these customers promise to never purchase the industries’ outputs again” (Schmidt and Berri 346). As a result of the players’ greed, some argued, two and a half months of profit that could have been made have been lost. The fact that NBA players are the highest paid athletes in team sports contributed to the negative viewpoints they received from the fans. Many complained that these players also did not realize how good they had it. Despite the possible physical injuries that could have occurred, the players would still get paid 100% of the contract they signed. Moreover, with NBA owners claiming to have lost $300 million last year, the less money players are given will add up to less money being lost. Thus, many come to the conclusion that the players’ income should be reduced to increase the Basketball-Related Income (BRI) for owners, “which is a measure of the aggregate revenue produced by the league and its teams from sources such as ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, and broadcast revenue” (Kaplan 1624). Therefore, some say the copious amount of money being thrown out the window is a result from the selfishness of the players.

In addition to the selfishness of the players, some say the stubbornness of the players was prolonging the lockout. Many complaints have come from the players rejecting a 50-50 split of the BRI, epitomizing their stubbornness. All-time NBA scoring leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also states his disappointment with the players’ rejection of an evenly split BRI by stating “I think they’ve gone a little bit too far. They might lose 5% or 6% of their salaries, but in today’s economic times, everybody’s dealing with something like that” (Falgoust). As a result of rejecting the proposal of a 50-50 deal, many fans were disgruntled by the players’ actions and complained that the players were playing for money and not for their love of the game. The players’ unwillingness to compromise and filing an antitrust suit against the NBA only increased the animosity towards the players. Consequently, the players’ actions of putting the whole season in jeopardy also chased away many fans from supporting the sport that once entertained a whole nation. Not only did the players receive the blame for the lockout, but also many began to side with the owners by taking into account that the owners took risks in investing into a sports team and deserve to have a higher percentage of the BRI. Thus, a number of people said the stubborn players were the cause of the lockout and did not deserve the fans’ support.

While there are believers of blaming the players, the owners were truly to blame for the lockout due to their selfishness. The various meetings held in place at an attempt to end the lockout has only demonstrated the owners’ stubborn and selfish traits. The owners locked out the players in hopes of reducing their income and would not end it until they negotiated a deal in the owners’ favor. Although jeopardizing the whole season hurt the owners, they knew the players would be hurting more without their paychecks. Similarly, “history shows missed games won’t hurt the sport… that makes it easy to see why the owners- who claim 22 of the 30 NBA teams lose money and that the sport lost about $300 million last year- are willing to risk short-term anger and bad press to get what they want from the players. They’re betting the long-term damage will be minimal… the owners are demanding the players take a big cut in the 57% share of league revenue they earned in the last deal; the players say they won’t accept less than 53%. The owners, knowing the fans will come back, can afford to wait until the players cave” (Mamudi). An advantage the owners had over the players was time; the owners were able to last much longer because they have deeper pockets and “knowing that the cash will start pouring in once the games begin, the owners have few reasons to conclude a deal until they’ve gotten exactly what they want” (Mamudi). When the owners offered the players a 50-50 BRI percentage, some owners still hoped the players would reject the offer in hopes of increasing their BRI further. Hence, magnifying the selfishness of the owners and their unwillingness to compromise despite the money being lost and the thousands of unemployed arena workers.

In addition, these selfish actions led to more stubborn owners, more games missed, and more money lost. The players may possibly lose $1- $2 billion by negotiating a BRI split between 49% to 51%- a six to eight percent decrease from the previous CBA. This “compromise” only satisfies the owners because it benefits the owners and the league with a guaranteed $1 billion, if not $2 billion in the next ten years. Until the players caved, the owners would not have accepted anything less than a band of 49% to 51%. History also shows that the owners always come out to be the winners at the end of a lockout. The previous lockout, in 1998-1999, in “terms of the new CBA, the owners appear to have scored a major win” (Ringold 124). Many viewed the lockout as a fight between “greedy owners and greedy players;” however, it was “a fight between selfish owners and selfish owners” (LeBatard 2). While the players demonstrated their desire to play the game by holding multiple charity events during the lockout, some players felt the owners were not showing the players’ union the same purpose. Utah Jazz’s Raja Bell stated that the players “made concessions [and] tried to get to a position where the owners would meet us. It seems like every inch we give up, they ask for another one” (LeBatard 3). When the lockout should have been a time to negotiate, the owners have continuously demonstrated their reluctance to make a fair compromise. Therefore, the owners are at fault for the lockout due to their stubborn, inconsiderate selves.
Correspondingly, the owners’ foolish negotiations emphasized why the blame belonged to them. Throughout the lockout, the owners have constantly complained about the overwhelming salaries the players have been receiving. However, the owners are the ones offering the players the copious amount of money. In the past, many players have been offered a great amount of money in hopes of reaching their expectations, but failed; thus, owners lost millions of dollars that could have been invested into a more efficient player. Moreover, the power the owners have in controlling a player’s salary can save millions of dollars. Another factor contributing to their foolish actions of overpaying athletes is the “pride in fielding the most competitive team possible, simply because they want to win championships” which in turn, results in a more expensive team (Grow 195). While the league should be equal in competitiveness with all teams having a chance at winning a championship, the NBA is slowly turning into a monopoly, where the owners are taking over. The power that the owners have with their billions of dollars led to a corrupt system. Ultimately, the choices of the owners have led the NBA into a lockout and a loss in millions of dollars.

Another reason the owners are to blame is because they turned, what should be negotiations, into threats. As soon as the lockout started on July 1, 2011, many felt threatened by the owners when they stated that the cancellation of a whole season was being jeopardized. Knowing that they own the league, the owners took control and continued to hurt the players until they surrendered. A major threat the owners hoped would prevail was the “take it or leave it” attitude when offering the players a 50% BRI and nothing higher. In addition, once the players rejected this offer, the next highest would be lowered to a 47%. Stern, as a representative of the owners, said himself, “We’re finished negotiating. As a matter of labor law, we’re obligated to meet and negotiate and stay at the table generally. We’ve told the players that after 2 1/2 years of negotiating, this last offer is where we find ourselves — and our next negotiations are going to begin off of the 47%” (Zillgitt). What should be negotiations turned into giving the players no choice but to accept what the owners offered. These continuous threats and imposing deadlines only angered the players’ union and eventually led them to decertify the league, further increasing the chances of a lost season. Consequently, following the decertification, David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, called it the beginning of a “nuclear winter” with all optimism lost at a chance of an NBA season.

Also, the threats inflicted by the owners led to a broken relationship between the players and owners. These constant threats led to less trust with the owners and a more disassociated union. Imposing deadlines pressured the players to accept or reject an offer without enough time to compromise. Moreover, the owners did not give the players fair options, but gave them one bad choice, or a worse choice. After multiple failed bargaining sessions with the owners, the players finally filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league calling the lockout an “illegal group boycott.” Threats by the owners have been proven to be a tactic in the past as well. In the previous lockout, the NBA’s Individual Caps for rookies’ and veterans’ salaries “were instituted as a two-tiered attack on player salaries” (Kaplan 1626). The owners have taken control of the salaries for these athletes, yet, they continued to blame the players for being greedy in being paid too much and locked out the players. Likewise, the owners take away from the players to make up for their own losses. With analysis from previous lockouts, “the consumers’ threat [to never go back to the NBA] has not been credible. In fact, in almost all instances attendance immediately rebounded in the year following the labor conflict” (Berri and Schmidt 356). Thus, explaining why the owners have been locking out the players more frequently in professional sports. Furthermore, the owners’ actions have further emphasized why they were to blame for the lockout.

Lastly, more blame was put on the owners because they took advantage of their powers over the league and the players. With the billions of dollars the owners have in their pockets, the players need them in order to continue their careers as athletes. Although the players are disconnected with the owners, the players need them to maintain the financial responsibilities of the league. Therefore, the owners have an advantage over the players where the players need the owners more than the owners need the players. Not only do the owners have control over the players, but they also affect their local economies. Studies find that professional sports can enhance the local economies, therefore, “work stoppages in professional sports should have harmful effects on the economies of the region that are home to franchises” (Coates and Humphreys 746). Likewise, mayors from 14 NBA cities wrote letters to the NBA, “imploring them to end the lockout. ‘Lost in the debate over a new NBA collective bargaining agreement,’ the letter reads, ‘has been the perspective [of city] residents and the negative impact a cancelled season might have on them, our cities, and our local economies” (Sean). Having the knowledge that they influence, not only the league, but also their communities, contributes to their pride and selfishness in winning this battle. Hence, strengthening the reasons on why the owners should be blamed for the lockout.

Having the title of an owner influences them to take control of the situation and do not negotiate in good faith. Michael Jordan, known as the greatest basketball player, is now the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. The once superstar athlete, who demanded for higher salary, now states that players these days are being paid too much and that the owners should not budge from a 50-50 split in BRI. Big-name players in the NBA “are quite important for generating revenue, not only for their own teams but for other teams as well… the value of Michael Jordan to the other NBA teams [was] approximately $53 million” (Hausman and Leonard 586). Sadly, the owners disregard the importance of their athletes, who generate a great amount of revenue, and continue to monopolize the league. While “independent ownership of sports teams is necessary for the public to have confidence that games are not fixed,” the owners have taken their ownership to a level that proves that there has been a “history of abusive labor practices by professional spots owners” (Grow 194, 203-204). With the power and influence they have, the owners’ tendency to treat the players like their toys increases and in return, receive hateful comments, such as being called a “plantation owner.” Because the owners were negotiating in bad faith, they deserve the fingers to be pointed at them.

Additionally, the advantages the owners possess create a parasitic relationship. Due to the owners’ ability to create a more cohesive unit, they used it to their advantage against the players. The various bargaining sessions, some going over twelve hours at a time, revealed that the owners were united behind Stern, while the players consisted of different ages, experience, affluence, and location. As a result of the owners’ united front, the players were pressured to create the best deal, while also receiving pressure from agents and sponsors. Also, the media has brought constant attention to the players and how wealthy they are, but the owners were able to hide from the public and not receive much blame. The owners’ ability to form a parasitic relationship, where they continually take from the players and give nothing back in return represents animals in a zoo. People come to watch the animals and are the main attractions, but do not get paid. Furthermore, the history of professional sports’ leagues points out, “team owners have implemented unilateral, abusive labor practices without consulting the player unions” (Grow 207). The unfairness of this relationship only created more tension with the players and prolonged the lockout.

Some believe the players were to blame for causing the lockout and the owners stood in the right position to take charge. However, in reality, the owners were to blame because of their selfishness, their actions of turning negotiations into threats, and taking advantage of their powers. After sixty-five years of bringing basketball into the lives of the American people, the National Basketball Association stands as one of the greatest sports in history. However, while the lockout took place, fans started to despise these millionaires and billionaires for their greed. The more the fans looked into the problems of the lockout, the more they believed the players were to blame. Despite the opinions of disappointed fans, the owners were truly to blame for the cause of the lockout. Considering the history of previous NBA lockouts and the lockouts of other national sports, the owners always took charge and negotiated in bad faith until they were the winners. In the case of NBA owners, with the billions of dollars they already have in their pockets, they will only demand for more and always come out as winners. Thankfully, the players and owners came up with a “compromise,” mostly benefiting the owners, and ended the lockout. Now, the die-hard fans that have been waiting for a great season receive an early Christmas present with games starting on Christmas Day.