Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Even a Vote. Pathetic.

How can you claim that the collective bargaining process has failed when you haven't even listened to your collective voice?

I'm not typically big on conspiracy theories. Most conspiracies require a whole lot of coordination of a whole lot of moving parts and that doesn't typically work well in real life. But today, the National Basketball Players Association announced that they're rejecting the owners' offer without a full-membership vote and they're dissolving the entire union. All of a sudden I feel like Oliver Stone himself.

With 450 players' salaries and the livelihoods of countless arena workers, team employees, and other voiceless people on the line, they couldn't even put this to a vote? Instead, they band together a group of player reps, beat their collective chest, and declare that they're cutting all the players loose and pursuing a hopeless antitrust action? And they have the nerve to use the word "unanimous." The Jazz weren't even represented at the meeting.

You can't tell me that Celtic guard
Rajan "Urkel" Rondo doesn't
know his way around a web form.
If I were a player, I'd be furious. Why can those guys decide to give away what will likely be an entire season of my salary without my say so? Worse yet, how can they place my contract in jeopardy of being voided without even allowing me to vote? They can't claim logistical obstacles -- give me five minutes and access to Google Docs and I could build a web form that they could post on their website and allow players to vote from anywhere in the world. Heck, it would only need one question: yes or no

So, what could their reasons possibly be for not at least putting it to a vote? Are they afraid of what a fair vote would do to the hardliners' agenda?

Further feeding the conspiracy theory are questions like these: Why a disclaimer of interest now instead of a vote on decertification months ago? If, as several agents claim, there is a decertification petition out there somewhere with more than 200 signatures on it, why haven't we seen it? 

There have been several reports over the last few days suggesting that if the owners' latest offer were put to a full-membership vote, teams would be opening their doors tomorrow. The actions of the NBPA executive committee and player reps lead me to believe that it's probably true and that union leadership knows it so they're navigating their way around their own members. That, my friends, is beyond bad faith -- it's criminal. The players might be right to take this to court, they just have the wrong defendants.

It could be that, in my fury and disgust, my imagination is running away from me. Maybe this incredibly stupid game of chicken really is exactly what the majority of players want. Of course, a player vote would confirm that and would give union (sorry, trade association) leadership more bargaining power and greater public support. So again, why no vote??

1 comment:

  1. In the early 90's major league baseball went on strike. At the time I was 10 or close to. I have no idea why the strike went on, BUT I can tell you that is when my desire to actually follow MLB diminished and has never returned to a fraction of what it once was. I wonder if the same thing will occur with the NBA following and how long the ripples in the pool of sports will effect the faithful.
    For me it's almost 20 years going strong. It's funny, you'd be hard pressed for me to name over 15 MLB athletes that currently play. However, I can name the starting line up for the 1989 Oakland Athletics to this day. Go figure.
    Conspiracy, maybe. Greed, immaturity, with a high profile "image" that goes with most NBA, MLB, NFL, athletes most definitely yes. I think it comes down to "I'm taking my ball and going home... (to my 3.6 million dollar mansion and will drive there in my imported european luxury car that costs more than most peoples homes)". Best message we can send to professional athletes, we don't care, life goes on, it is a shame that you can't find a way to compromise. While you are concerned with pay scales, guaranteed money, and shoe deals/energy drink/bracelet endorsements, the rest of America is in a recession and grateful to have employment.
    Even better message we can send, when it does come back, show them we have moved on, hard as it may or may not be.
    I think I could write a thesis on why professional athletics and pay structure has gone completely crazy: Cristiano Ronaldo, Alex Rodrigez, the defensive lineman that just got cut from the Patriots Alan Haynsworth I think his name is, the list goes on I'm sure. The money that is associated with these guys is ABSURD! But that is for another discussion and another day.