Opinion: An example of greed

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman is a junior newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

As thousands of citizens across America protest the rampant filth of greed and corruption responsible for our country’s economic downturn, professional basketball players are fighting with team owners over how to share billions of dollars in NBA revenue.

While citizens get locked up for protesting economic injustice in cities all over the country, grown men argue over how much they are paid to play basketball amid an NBA lockout.

The triviality of feuding over who gets 53 percent of league revenue and who gets 47 percent is frankly a freaking joke. That’s where each side is at right now. Both NBA players and owners want the bigger slice for themselves.

The league claims it lost $300 million last season with 22 of the 30 teams losing money last year. For the past six years, under the old collective bargaining agreement, NBA players were given 57 percent of basketball-related income, while owners got 43 percent.

After that deal expired in July without a new one to replace it, the current NBA lockout took effect, prohibiting teams from trading, signing or even contacting players. Negotiations transpired and are still continuing with each side taking a hard-nosed stance for their group.

The league wants enough money for owners so that every team, especially small-market ones, are given equal opportunity to both compete for a championship and make a profit as a business. This competitive balance would require stricter enforcement of salary caps. Players worry about losing full payment of their contracts as teams would most likely cut players to stay under the cap and not be responsible for paying full contracts.

NBA preseason games were supposed to begin this week. Those have been canceled. So has the first two weeks of the regular season (through Nov. 14). This alone is estimated to cost the players and owners hundreds of millions of dollars. NBA Commissioner David Stern said the cancellations will guarantee the league will have a shortened season for the first time since 1998, when a similar lockout reduced that season from 82 to 50 games.

With an agreement anytime soon looking bleak, NBA players are beginning to look for alternatives. Some have already signed contracts to play with basketball teams overseas. One perennial fool from Akron who used to play for the Cavs made headlines this week when he asked, via Twitter, when the deadline is for NFL teams to sign free agents.

LeBron James was a first-team all-state wide receiver in high school. His 6-foot-8-inch, 250-pound frame would probably make him a formidable opponent on the football field. Let’s just say he wasn’t soft and decided to lace up the cleats — I’d wish him worst. A broken knee (so he can’t run) and a broken face (so he can’t be in stupid commercials) seems like appropriate karma.

Though the recent NFL lockout, which was resolved over the summer, was very similar to the current NBA dispute, this argument over money seems a little more disgusting. Rich athletes and owners fighting over $4 billion is hard to digest. During a national economic revolt? Even harder.

Contact Mike Crissman at [email protected].