*In the 1760s and 1770s the land owners in North America got into a dispute with the land owners in England. The result was the American Revolution. And facing the most formidable fighting force on the planet at that time, the land owners in North America had to convince the majority of men in the North American colonies to fight. So they created a political and economic system that theoretically allowed everyone to achieve affluence.
The good news was that it worked; average people signed up for the Continental Army even though the issues were not central to their lives. The bad news was that while in theory the playing field had been leveled, in reality those in power had no desire to share the authority in society.
And so goes the current work stoppage in the National Basketball Association.
Instead of two groups of wealthy land owners the NBA lockout is essentially about wealthy franchise owners. Some owners in big cities having their franchises turn a profit while owners in smaller cities having their franchises lose money annually. Naturally group B wants to change the rules to make it more likely that their franchise will profit. And who gets caught in the middle: the working class; the players.
Some people cannot come to grips with the fact that professional basketball players earning at minimum hundreds of thousands of dollars per year are not the people in charge. Yes their salaries are generous; yes professional athletes are an unnecessary luxury in society; yes they are more visible than the owners. Nevertheless professional athletes are only able to earn what owners are willing to pay them; they only exist because consumers desire entertainment. Professional athletes are not at the core of this work stoppage.
This truth is substantiated when you take into consideration that as the players have attempted to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement but the owners have been steadfast in their stance to radically alter the former setup. The previous structure that allowed players to have more power has been scrapped. . In other words when the workforce attempts gain too much control the people in authority change the rules.
This is the American way. The way these owners are changing the structure is the same way the founding fathers instituted safeguards in their new government to ensure the common man not have too large a voice. The United States of America was a place where he might get rich, but it was a place where the wealthy would surely get richer. The NBA was a place where the players might get rich, but a place where the owners would surely get richer. And because that assurance is now in jeopardy some of the owners are revolting.
The NBA owners not currently turning a profit have a right to try and seek changes to the system. But their problem isn’t with the players; it’s with the other owners overpaying the players.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book examining American sports culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. He can be reached at [email protected]