Didn’t the NBA learn anything from the NHL? The cancellation of the 2004-05 season of the latter did a lot of damage to the league and its players. For example, ESPN replaced its missing programming with college basketball and got a ratings boost; NHL games are now seen on Versus. In addition, the league had to change the rules to make the game more exciting in an effort to win back fans.
In that case, the players played hardball and lost an entire season, then caved. Now it looks like NBA players are going to make the same mistake. Yes, I am blaming the players. If my employer said, “We are losing money, and you’re going to have to take a pay cut or the company will fold,” I of course would be disappointed but I wouldn’t fight it.
NBA owners are essentially saying that they will lose less money by canceling a season than by having one at the current salary structure. How does this appear to NBA fans (and even non-fans)? It looks like players are extraordinarily greedy and stupid.
Meanwhile, there are many people across the country who are unemployed. Do you think they sympathize with the players? The public perception of the NBA as a whole will be negative for a long, long time.
The players should just accept the 50-5o split of basketball-related income and get on with the season. At this point, it’s not only their best option financially, it’s also their only chance to keep on good terms with their fans, who really matter the most here.
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