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Making the Fan's Voice Heard

[Post bumped to top. Scroll down for Monday's news updates.]


Many people are opining about the NBA lockout today as part of the #NBAFanVoice project.  Here at Blazersedge we decided that if the fan's voice was truly going to be heard, it had to come from our readers.  We asked readers for their feelings on (and synopses of) the lockout and got plenty of response.  Here are quotes from some of their responses:

--Negotiating a new CBA is an important process to both entities.  I recognize this as a necessary business process. However, I would simply wish that both Owners and Players realize that their inability to resolve this issue and save the season impacts people and things beyond themselves. They have a responsibilty to themselves to negotiate a fair and workable deal...for both sides...but they should also recognize that the impact is far more than just two sided.  -Krang

--Blazer basketball was and is everything to my dad, and as i looked up to him, it became everything to me. Growing up we listened to most games on the radio because we didn't have cable and watched some at my grandmas.  Those are amongst the greatest memories of my life.  When we finally got season tickets and watched the Bulls and Pistons beat us in the finals I was so upset but my dad said just enjoy being here because this may never happen again in either of our life now after every season we chuckle and say maybe next year.  This great fan and even better dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year.  So while these millionaires battle over this labor dispute my dad is battling for something that's really important,his life.  All he wants to do is watch his Blazers play. I wish theses owners and players would realize the millions they make from this game are because of great fans like my dad and they owe it to him and all fans to get back on the court. Its about more than the game its also about creating life long memories and stories.  -Hammer68

--Tough to takes sides in Millionaires vs. Billionaires but I believe in a just society. Therefore, I believe that if labor is unhappy, they should be able to negotiate. If they can't come to a resolution, the labor should say, "peace out, yo" and leave the NBA to figure out what to do.   I like the idea of the players figuring out how to start a new league. I think it would be exciting, and set a good precedent in general for workers.  -Corvallis, OR

Read much, much more after the jump!

--People need to get over the amount of money these people have and understand we are talking about business. No business is ever going to succeed if it is losing money. These owners should not have to take money from other businesses or their personal savings to throw down the NBA toilet.  The owners should make money as business owners, or close the doors. This is how business works. The idea that the owners should at best break even from year to year is absolutely ludicrous.  -AR-15

--I'll never pay for a ticket to watch Paul Allen or David Stern do anything. The NBA is all about the players. I don't care if they're "millionaires". They're still labor. So I'm on their side for the duration. I simply cannot muster sympathy for people who own basketball teams. And hiding behind the skirts of laid-off arena employees is pathetic and disgusting. It's not a strike, it's a lockout. Open the doors and your wallets, owners, and let's play some ball. If you can't make a profit in the basketball business, sell the team.   -Jumbo

--For me, it goes beyond the "millionaires bargaining with billionaires' frustration. I am more pissed that the hangup is largely based on blatantly cooked books showing losses when in most cases there are none. As is the case with so many things political, the general public has to have their intelligence insulted by accepting a lie before they can even begin to look at a solution. For this part, I blame the owners.

--The fact that everyone has known since last year that negotiations would be fruitless because the parties were just that far apart and we are just now, in October, having a mediator present for negotiations is a massive slap in the face of the fans, and shows me that the owners, and maybe the players, were never really serious about saving the season.  So now we are left to watch the owners lie about bargaining in good faith when we all knew they would cancel games to gain leverage, and see how badly the NBAPA screws up playing chicken with their employers. All of this while jobs are lost in Portland, which can ill afford higher unemployment and losing local revenue peripheral to the basketball games.  -The Penguin

--One thing I haven't heard mentioned is all the personal income/benefits players enjoy outside of their contracts - as in endorsements, advertising, movie roles, special appearances.... This all exists as a benefit of their celebrity as players in the NBA. Is this included in the calculations of ‘total income' ? .... I think not, nor am I suggesting it should be. Just that, whatever ‘extra' income owners get should be ok too.   -Berkeley

--Don't forget the non-salary perks provided directly by the teams: chartered travel, 5 star hotels, generous per diems, top notch training facilities, free food/swag/etc. That probably takes their "true" split of BRI from 57% to somewhere north of 60%, since all this stuff is coming out of the owner's share.  -douglast

--We do not know that most small market teams cook their books. We only know that some seem to, or have other interests that leverage other profits from these franchises. And I'm one who believes that sound business practices to include profitable franchises will improve the league, as it will open up ownership to far more businesspeople and investors. You get the ownership you deserve. Good businesspeople and sound investors don't buy NBA franchises. -ebenc

--I hate that they started so late with the serious discussion process.  When both sides had years and months to get their own guys in line, and then at least start serious and frequent negotiations way back in July and not when the pot is already boiling over.  Both sides have good arguments but the owners ultimately will "win" the negotiation. The players have the power to make it into a pyrrhic victory by costing both sides a lot of money, but that would hurt them even more.  -Norsktroll

--I think the players should loosen up a bit.  They make tons of money from their contracts + endorsements. Players are getting paid millions to sit on a bench or watch re-runs on TV while they do exercises in a pool (recovery). Some players are getting huge contracts they can't physically complete.  There had to be changes. This isn't about who's making the most money or who drives the NBA. It's about what is optimum for fans, teams, competition and the growth of the league. -poorwebguy

--As a fan, I do not care about how much the players make.  I care more about fixing some of the things that are not good for competition:  1. Limit the length of contracts or make them un-guaranteed.  I don't care how stupid a GM or owner are, there should be a mechanism that does not allow players to collect an obscene amount of money for years of not performing. When that salary counts against the cap for years, it just kills a team's ability to do anything to compete.  2. Putting a maximum and minimum on the cap spending, that is only separated by $10-$20 million. All teams should not be far apart on the amount of money they spend on player salaries.  -JasonT

--Is parity the end goal of the NBA? I don't think it should be. The goal of the NBA should be to be a place where high-level basketball is played.  Parity in and of itself doesn't do that.  Most of the suggestions to create more parity would lower the median level of play which makes the game of basketball less marketable. When the owners talk about creating a more competitive environment (i.e. parity) that is code for them saying "we are trying to cut costs" -tingeyga

--Lock them out and keep them out!  Guaranteed contracts are killing the NBA. No new CBA will effect any meaningful change to the health of the game unless the guaranteed contracts are a thing of the past.  For the fans, the guaranteed contract is a reminder that their hard earned and spent ticket money is being wasted. It is a reminder that ticket prices are through the roof, not so the team can do anything meaningful, but so that vet on the end of the bench can shake a pom-pom. Most importantly, it becomes the financial handcuff that prevents the team from reworking their line-up. With the bloated guaranteed contract, the fans, franchise, and contributing players are forced to wait out the ol'vet for 2-4 years before anyone is allowed to get serious about winning. cheapSeats

--How about accountability for the owners?  Ultimately the owners sign off on these contracts. They should get rewarded for their stupidity and/or poor business sense? What is to stop them from continuing their poor management knowing that the next time the CBA comes up for negotiation they can just take more money from the players to cover their losses this time around? -Occam's Blazer

--All you millionaires and billionaires should be ashamed of yourselves.  The ones acting like spoiled children can afford to take a year off.  How many regular class people with families ( real children ) are you putting out of work in an already bad economy? -FrenchieFan

--Good for JaVale McGee!  He did what a lot of players didn't have the guts to do. Standing up to the top tier and saying, "what about the rest of us?". The top few players are the ones who stand to loose the most in this lockout. The majority, like McGee, just want to get paid millions to play ball. -Kevlar Rocket

--I am just seeing more brinksmanship. It is interesting how people perceive others as just like themselves: "they think we are going to back down", which seems what Billy Hunter expects the owners to do. Maybe that worked before, but that was then, this is now. Talk of ‘standing strong', as if it is ‘weak' to adjust to make a deal. Basically making it tough to make concessions. -Berkeley

--Why hasn't there been a boycott of the NBA set up?  If all of the fans united and refused to purchase anything related to the NBA, wouldn't that take enough money off of the table that the owners and players would have to get a deal done? -S O Wolf

--Players and owners have long shared the same assumption; the amount of money fans will spend on sports will keep expanding, forever. Fans (and businesses using the "entertainment expense" tax deduction) will keep paying more and more for tickets. Fans will keep tuning in for broadcasts (sometimes paying for the privilege) in greater numbers, and TV contracts will always increase profitably for both the NBA and the networks who show it. Most importantly, the resale value of franchises will always be so much higher than the purchase value that any losses incurred during one owner's tenure will be recouped when the sale is made. If necessary, that resale value will be inflated by a new publicly-financed arena (with shiner luxury boxes for mostly corporate clients.) The assumption has proven true, to date. Will it forever? Probably not.  Someday, too, the sports fans might start demanding a little (or a lot) more for their entertainment (and tax) dollar. But it's probably safe to say that we'll have to wait a long, long time before that day arrives.    -twinsbrewer

--There's an easy solution to all of this lockout nonsense...and it's in our hands. The problem is that we will not do it (or not enough of us will do it). Just stop paying ridiculous prices for tickets and jerseys and league pass and concessions and all of the other stuff that puts those ridiculous amounts of money in the pockets of owners and players alike. Do you know why you don't have the pleasure of crying because the millions of dollars you have isn't enough?  Because people don't give you millions of dollars to cry about. We don't like to admit it. But we, the fans, have the power. All of it. We just won't take it.  -JavaBlazer

--I would ask the owners & the players to think about making sacrifices so that our youth can experience the greatest sports league in the world (as far as I'm concerned).  They might not consider it a great loss to sacrifice a season because, for most of them,  they may never see the impact the NBA has down in the trenches across this country. -Jomo D.M. Greenidge  (Read the personal story he's talking about here.)

-I don’t particularly care how long the lock out last as long as there ends up being a radical change in how the NBA operates. If we lose the whole season, fine. If there’s is a 50 game season, fine. I’ve been a Blazer fan since day one and had season tickets for 12 years. At this point, I’m priced out. The quality of the product has gone down since the 70’s and 80’s and the price has gone through the roof.  Ultimately, we the fans are to blame for this mess. We’re the ones willing to pay ridiculous prices for tickets, team jerseys and so forth. We’re willing to pay $8 for a beer at a game. When I gave up my season tickets ultimately, some other sucker came along and bought them. So the Blazers didn't learn anything from my exodus. I hope that some day fans will wise up and the NBA will come back to earth.  -kuhnsmith

--As a thank you to the fans for their patience and recognizing that things are rough all around right now perhaps the NBA should agree to cut prices and salaries across the board and pass the savings on to the fans and supporters. Cheaper food, cheaper tickets, etc. It would provide sports that rare opportunity where athletes have a chance to be politically relevant in their time. If all of this collective group of owner and players, who all make some pretty good money, demonstrated a collective willingness to take less it could create a moment of cultural relevance. It would be an amazing gesture and if I remember correctly those sorts of things, amazing things, are supposed to happen in the NBA. -clearcutusa

--I'm curious. If the owners get what they want in a new CBA (increased BRI), can the fans expect a break on ticket prices going forward? -halo_on

--This should never happen again.  My politics and beliefs about labor vs. ownership aside, this situation is unacceptable. There should never be a lost season. Too many people depend on this sport, and the revenue it brings, for negotiations to call a stop to it.  In the future, I believe that if the CBA cannot be negotiated by training camp, the league should play under the conditions of the previous agreement for the duration of the season. Throughout the season, negotiations can continue while the business of basketball goes on.  -Adam Randall

--I really think both the players and the owners are chasing a unicorn.  The players want to make more in an economy that has seen the demand for and price of labor fall dramatically. If they really want to play, they'll accept less money with the hope that the league, and the economy, will eventually rebound, and they will be able to demand higher wages again. What I am asking the players to accept is no different from what those of us who have accepted, or would be willing to accept, jobs with lower wages, worse benefits, and fewer hours than we are accustomed to or really want, have already come to grips with.

The owners really need to give up their hopes for cost-certainty and league-wide profitability. Revenue sharing is not going to solve the problem for teams in the red; it will create moral hazards for high-earners, like Chicago and the LA teams, while creating a free-rider dilemma for the smaller, less profitable teams like Utah and Memphis. The bottom line is, stars drive this league, and they will ultimately drive the ability of teams to generate revenue. There are not enough Lebron Jameses, Dwight Howards, Blake Griffins, Kevin Garnetts, Chris Pauls, or Derrick Roses for every team to be profitable. The NBA as a whole needs to operate as a single business, not 30, because it is a single business.

The only thing I'm really sure of is that nothing that David Stern has proposed is actually going to make the system work for all of the owners. -HailOden!

--That's it.  I'm tired of getting screwed by whining zillionaires assaulting the people who make them rich.  We fan's need to stand up and show we are actually the ones who pay these crybabies.  I'm talking the owners AND the players. I think we should boycott the same number of games that are cancelled after the season starts. -teradasan   

--In my perfect world, MJ swoops in, brings the sides together, and gets them to agree to a deal. Then, with all the goodwill that comes along with being the man to end the lockout, pulls off the biggest coup in pro sports history, and unseats David Stern as commissioner. -Sean in Vancouver

--The NBA model the owners are proposing is the way to allow teams to compete and avoid  financial troubles coming soon. We can´t say there´s no need for that system, "they just have to be financially sound", because that does not exist.  Nowhere I know.  Once there are no rules about spending there will be an arms race, and then you die quickly if you don´t spend or you die slowly if you spend. How things are rolling in Euro soccer is a good example. -amlmart1

--The players should form their own league.  They have talent that is irreplicable.   -Corvallis, OR

--Just shut up and play basketball.  -jnstcy


This is just the tip of the iceberg on the discussion, of course.  You'll find more of it all around the site.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond and make their thoughts known.

--Dave (