In one of the most condescending and cynical columns we’ve read in a long while, Deseret News (Salt Lake City) sports columnist Brad Rock shoots down the idea of fans having representation in the NBA lockout negotiations. You may remember that Sports Fans Coalition sent a letter to the NFL and NFLPA requesting fans have a representative in the room because of the massive public investment we’ve made in NFL stadiums.
Consider this passage from Rock:
I know and admire a lot of fans. And it’s true fans are the foundation for success in sports. Anyone who is loyal enough to paint his driveway with a logo or wear a team tie to work has a right to be upset about this lockout. But sitting in on the negotiations is an entirely different thing. Isn’t the process complicated enough without adding someone wearing a replica jersey?
I can see it now. There in the NBA offices are commissioner David Stern, union boss Billy Hunter, a bunch of lawyers, some player reps … and a guy named Ralph from Bluffdale.
As though the public’s representative would be someone sitting there in a replica jersey drinking a beer…Does Rock think the player reps sit in their game uniforms?
It gets worse. Consider this from Rock:
Still, I don’t know of any business where the consumer sits in on board meetings and helps negotiate salaries. The owners take the financial risk, the players do the work. Seems to me that fans have the easiest job of all, showing up at 7 p.m. and yelling their guts out.
First of all, in this passage, and ABSOLUTELY nowhere in the column does Rock mention the massive public subsidization of NBA teams by the public. Which, of course, leads to the next point — that the “owners take the financial risk.” WHAT FINANCIAL RISK? Who was the last NBA owner to go bankrupt?
Consider former Hornets owner George Shinn, who bought the team for $32.5 million in the late 80′s. The team initially played in Charlotte, but after the team started losing money and a stadium deal fell through, Shinn talked New Orleans into covering his losses by paying tens of millions of dollars in incentives. Thus, the Hornets moved to the Big Easy, where they once again started having attendance problems. Now, some might expect that a business owner with a failing business would lose in the end. Not in the NBA. Instead, the NBA actually purchased the Hornets from Shinn and his partner for $300 million. Oh, and Shinn loaned the NBA the money. Huh?
Truth is, as long as NBA owners are allowed to work as a monopoly and force the public to fork over hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies, there will never be a greater need for fan representation in the negotiating room. It’s a shame that those like Rock who opine on these subjects have no sense of what the NBA actually owes its fans.
Read more posts on SportsFans.org »
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.