Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shame on the NBA Players Union

The eternal struggle between management and workers that are represented by unions is rearing its ugly head in two beloved american sports. Whether in sports or other businesses, it is important to reach agreements that are balanced where both sides get their fair share. Recent history has shown us the repercussions of lopsided agreements that hugely favor either side. The UAW (United Auto Workers) comes to mind as they had a sweet employee package that hindered the american auto companies that they worked for. Prior to these auto companies getting a government bailout, it was required for the UAW to give concessions in their deal with the auto industry bosses.

So why do bring up the UAW? Because I see the same thing happening with the NBA Players Union and the NBA Owners. For the record, I'm siding with the owners here. They have a solid argument for wanting a new CBA where they can turn a profit. Capitalism (Or any other economic system) doesn't work if organizations generate a net loss annually. With 22 teams losing money, and the league losing over a combined $1 Billion since the inception of this current CBA, how could the NBA players union make a case that current system is fair and working for both parties?

Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with players trying to get everything that they can. But, for the whole system to work, the right attitude needs to be there. There are two ways to get the most for players.

1. Get everything you can.
2. Get everything that you can without a negative impact on your organization.

The NBA players are showing that they are only interested in option #1. The owners justifiably need  the players to take option #2. Athletes love pushing their perceived value to get biggest contract dollars that they can get. While these are phenomenal players that are worth multi-millions, what good does it do when you're a large contributor to your organization's losses? Actual value is based on many factors with the keys ones being the market, the economy, and the organization's financial statements. It seems to me like the players choose to ignore this country's economy over the past five years and the negative financial statements of most of the NBA teams.

How much more can the NBAPA ignore to hold onto their lions share of the revenues. So far they've ignored:

  • The sale of teams - Within the past three years, there is new ownership for the Warriors, Bobcats, Hornets and the Pistons soon. The fact the at the NBA league owns the Hornets with no foreseeable buyers is embarrassing. Owners don't bail on profitable businesses. The new ownership is betting that things will drastically change in the CBA to justify their purchases
  • Over $1 Billion in losses - Doing the math since the latest CBA agreement, the owners have lost over $350 Million annually since 2005.

Under the type of dire circumstances that the NBA owners have endured, most business would have had layoffs, filed for bankrupcy, or just completely closed up shop. The NBAPA president Derek Fisher recently made a comment suggesting that its not the players responsibility for the teams to generate a net profit. Wow, if this is the NBAPA president's mentality, then this just further clarifies the unions attitude about not caring about the organizations that they work for. The players are not giving the owners any incentive to avoid a lockout unless they're willing to agree to terms where good profits can be made.

I don't want to see any games missed, but I'm fine with missed games if it is necessary to reach a deal that makes sense to these NBA organizations. Too much has gone wrong economically in this country for the past five years to see sporting organizations suffer too. Obviously the players think that they are above the organizations that they work for. Should the owners and we as fans let them get away with it?

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