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The Word For The Day - Lockout

July 2, 2011 - Al Stephenson
First it was the NFL. Now it's the NBA. Both professional football and professional basketball are in the midst of labor disputes that threaten the very existence of their respective upcoming seasons. The sports fan may have to make alternate plans as the "boys" can't seem to figure out a way to split up the millions of dollars at their disposal.

So who is to blame for this? The greedy players? The rich owners? The adoring fans? All of the above? I believe there is enough blame to go around, but only one group can bring an end to this madness.

Let's start with the players. How can you blame someone for wanting to get the money they deserve. The fans are paying to see the players perform, not the owners to own. The risk to injury is great. The players careers could be over in the blink of an eye. Get what you can, while you can.

Then again, should anyone be making the obscene amount of money these guys are getting for playing a game? Probably not and greed is as good a word as any. They are just like the rest of us though. We are just talking about different numbers. My twenty five cent raise seems hardly comparable to an extra twenty five million smackaroos!

So yes, the players are partly to blame.

How about the owners. Most of these guys got rich in the business world. They bought a sports team for the fame, entertainment value AND to make money. As the players demand more and more of the pie, the owners know that they can pass on the costs of operation to the fans for only so long. Eventually they face the prospect of losing money and that goes against their business sense.

It is true that the owners can be there own worst enemy. They are used to getting what they want and they will overpay free agents. They have created much of the problem themselves, so the fans (and players) basically say "cry me a river." The owners run the risk that an injury will leave them with a big payroll that they are getting no return on. They want financial restraint while the players don't want to give up what they have fought for.

So yes, the owners are partly to blame.

That leaves us with you and me. As sports fans we buy the hats and the shirts. We go to the stadiums for our entertainment. We watch the games on TV. We cough up whatever it takes because we can't get enough of our habit. Perhaps it's time to realize that it is our money that the owners and players can't figure out how to divy up.

The view from my seat suggests that it is the fan who is ultimately to blame for the current situation. As fans we can put an end to this craziness by withdrawing our financial support.

Hey sports fans - are we capable of doing without our favorite sports? If the lockouts don't end we will soon see.

If I were an owner or player I'm not sure I'd like to find out!


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