Public trust put to test by prolonged NBA lockout

Richard Carter | 10/12/2012, 4:17 p.m.
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Predictably, things have heated up between owners and players. For example, the Miami Heat's normally soft-spoken Dwyane Wade screamed at Stern in a five-hour negotiating session Sept. 30, highlighting the raw feelings.

While strongly stating the league's case, the often condescending Stern pointed his finger at Wade while speaking. The player exploded in anger and screamed, "Don't point your finger at me. I'm not your child!" It appeared that Stern may have been upset with Wade for contending earlier in the week that the league's superstars are underpaid.

If the lockout is still on as this article is read, I'd like every single NBA player to attend the negotiating sessions, most of which have been held in swanky New York City hotels. These tall, talented athletes should dress in business suits and ties and pack the lobby and meeting rooms in a strong display of solidarity.

In my opinion, this would make the kind of positive statement that owners would have to respect. And when it was shown on television news from coast-to-coast, Americans everywhere--including non- NBA fans--would begin to understand the seriousness and dedication of these mostly Black young men.

As the talks drone on, the main issue remains how owners and players share the big bucks the league rakes in. This, despite some owners' complaints that they lose money, which many players don't believe. But the real losers are fans, who groove on pro hoops, pay through the nose to attend games and spend hours soaking up the action on TV.

One of the noteworthy aspects of this foolishness is the NBA's failure to follow the lead of the much more popular National Football League. The NFL ended its lockout prior to the current season without losing games and now is doing what it does best--entertaining millions of Americans.

Pro hoops fans are in no mood for lollygagging billionaire owners and millionaire players. The public at large is suffering big time in these terrible economic times, with national unemployment at 9.1 percent--and around 16 percent for Black people. The cost of gasoline is sky-high and Americans everywhere are tightening their belts.

Conversely, most players earn more in one eight-month season than average citizens earn in their entire working lives. Yet, by depriving the players of their livelihood, the white owners show their true colors--no pun intended. And that's the name of that tune.