By Daniel I. Dorfman–
(WSCR) And so there are two. Both the NBA and the NFL are involved in lockouts right now. The NBA joined the NFL in locking out its players on Thursday and now, apparently for the first time since 1994 when Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League were going through similar battles, two of the major sports leagues in the U.S. are involved in simultaneous work stoppages.
There are claims by NBA owners that the leagues has lost almost $300 million per season and 22 out of 30 teams are losing money. So the owners, led by Commissioner David Stern, are now determined to get a better collective bargaining agreement and the players have dug their heels in to prevent a hard salary cap, among other favorable items they currently have in place. The question becomes: Who knows when we will see Derrick Rose perform again at the United Center? It wouldn’t surprise some people that that may not happen until 2012 at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the NFL and its players still can’t figure out how to divide $9 billion in revenue. The lockout that started in March will now gather much more attention as there are many who don’t pay attention to mini-camps or free agent signings. But in roughly three weeks, players are scheduled to report to training camp, and recent reports suggest that whatever progress has been made toward a settlement seems to have been stymied. Pre-season contests are in jeopardy (even though I am not sure that is a bad thing) and there is a good possibility of a regular season that may be shortened to eight games.
I really wish I could work up a lot of sympathy for either management or labor in either one of these disputes. At the end of the day, everyone has the right to make as much money as possible. That is especially true for professional football players who, as demonstrated in the tragic case of Dave Duerson, may have lingering health issues for the rest of their lives.
But the sad fact is that the people who are really going to be hurt by these disputes are the small business owners who make their living being connected to the teams. The Score’s Laurence Holmes reported in May that the areas around Bourbonnais would be out as much as $2 million if a full camp isn’t held. Think about that in terms of the restaurant owners and the waiters and busboys who work in those restaurants. There are other types of people who are depending on the billionaires and millionaires to figure out how to divide the enormous amount so they can, in turn, simply pay their rent. NBA cities don’t have training camps, but there are going to be a lot of hurting people around the United Center if there is no NBA season until 2012-13, as some fear may be the case.
There was a report out today about how businesses in Wrigleyville are struggling with the dip in Cubs attendance this year. Think about what would happen to businesses in corresponding neighborhoods if there was no season at all.
So over the next few days, weeks and possibly months, representatives from the various sides will come out and inevitably want to talk about fairness. But just remember who is really being treated unfairly in these matters.
We may not like it, but most of us are going to survive if there are fewer games on our calendar. But there are some people who are going to be really hurt. We can acknowledge that all we want full seasons, but let’s hope the people doing the negotiating do the same.
Do you agree with Daniel? Post your comments below.
Daniel I. Dorfman is a local freelance writer who has written and reported for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe among many other nationally prominent broadcast, online and print media organizations. He is also a researcher for 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDorfman To read more of Daniel’s blogs click here.