Blog Entry

For players, it's become too emotional

Posted on: November 16, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 3:23 pm

Posted by Royce Young

When Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher and 60 some-odd players stood behind a podium Monday afternoon after a players' meeting, most expected them to announce they'd be putting the league's proposal to a vote. Or at least, announce they're making a counter.

But that didn't happen. Instead, it was doomsday.

I think you, probably like me, were left wondering one thing: Why? What are the players thinking? The chances of them actually winning a lawsuit are slim. The chances of them recouping their losses in a new collective bargaining agreement are probably even slimmer. And yet instead of pushing forward and trying to push the pressure back on the league and owners to accept their revised deal, they decided to blow it up. They didn't even try and mask it. During their press conference they even said that. They wanted to completely detonate the current negotiations.

Again: Why?

Because players are emotional. This isn't a negotiation anymore. It's a fight. The owners have always tried to approach this as a business deal and the players met them on that -- until now. Consider this quote from Kevin Durant over the weekend:

“I know we get paid handsomely but we deserve to fight for something that’s right,” he told HoopsWorld. “We feel that they’re trying to strong-arm us and back us into a corner just to accept the deal. Of course they’re going to bluff and show the fans, try to put the fans against us like they’re the good guys and we’re the bad guys.

“I think getting what you deserve and fighting for something you believe is right is something all the players really care about,” he continued.  “Of course we enjoy the fans, we like the fans that come and support us.  They’re the reason why we’re playing this game, the reason why we continue to play this game but at some point you have to fight for what’s right and we can’t get bullied.”

That, says it all. In a game setting, if Nene throws a shoulder into Kendrick Perkins, Perkins is not only going to shove him back, but Durant and the rest of the team is going to back up their teammate. It's just their nature. That's what's happening here. David Stern just gave Derek Fisher an elbow. And here come his teammates.

Billy Hunter said on a podcast that this has become a "moral" issue for the players. At the time, it just seemed like talk to try and scare the league. But clearly it's not. This is an emotional thing. And players are extremely emotional. They live off it. It's what drives them. They're competitive, emotional and passionate. Prideful.

So why would we expect anything less from them now, especially after they were backed into a corner by David Stern's ultimatum? The players wanted to stand and fight instead of just taking their medicine from the rich guys running the league.

I think Jerry Stackhouse said it well while ripping Derek Fisher. "Players are emotional. Players get emotional," he said. "So no, I don't necessarily, particularly want Derek Fisher or any of the executive committee negotiating a contract for me."

I mean, Hunter actually called the hard salary cap a "blood issue," meaning, I guess, that the players would rather die than give in to that. That's what the owners are negotiating against. It's nothing really all that new to them as they've haggled over contracts and extensions with players for years, but now the players are collectively fighting. At least that's the appearance.

I understand taking a stand for what you think is right. A tip of the cap to that. But this isn't a fight against poverty or injustice to children or something. This is about business. A $4 billion one, in fact. One in which the employees are paid more than $5 million per year annually on average.

At some point, the players are going to have to approach it that way. I'm all for doing what you think is right. If the players were being greedy, they would've just accepted this deal, cashed their paychecks and forgot all about it. But instead, they're sacrificing for future generations of players. They're taking a hit not for themselves necessarily, but to one, set a new precedent that says the players won't be bullied and two, give the future players of the NBA a decent system to play in.

But this is a business decision. And sometimes, looking it as a moral dilemma isn't what's wise. Because in the end, players typically end up getting screwed in these situations. It's a bad idea to operate in this atmosphere running on emotion. You have to always keep your head and make sure every move makes sense not just in terms of saving face, but also actual dollars and cents. You can't let pride interrupt what's wise. That's a challenge every busisnessperson has to face on a daily basis.

This court battle is exactly what David Stern called it: It's a tactic. Nothing more. The players want a deal. The owners want a deal. Nobody wants to go to court and actually sue for damages. That's not the plan here, though if both sides remain stubborn, it will be. What both sides want is to get back to playing basketball. It's just all about playing cards right now and throwing out bets that hopefully force the other side to give a little. They very well may have pushed all-in there and could lose every chip they have, but they're not going to fold. They're going to go down in a blaze.

Why didn't the players just take the deal and move on? It's the best deal they'll probably get and despite it not being fair one bit, it might not matter. The reason is because that's not how they're bred. That's not what's in them. They aren't just going to give up. You back a professional athlete into a corner and tell him he has to lose and he's going to fight back. It's like Walter White in Breaking Bad. The players are trying to tell the league, "I am the one who knocks." It's all about grabbing the upper hand.

Don't wonder why the players didn't just take the NBA's offer. Because the reason should be obvious. It's just not what they do.

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2011 4:16 pm

For players, it's become too emotional

Its hard to believe people are really this dumb!!!  Then again when you look at the fact that most people continue to accept the crap that their job dishes to them you begin to understand.  Anyone on this board cheering on the owners are most likely business owners themselves or not aware of how brainwashed they are to the employee mindset.  Like all employees, a player will be cut (fired) as soon as he becomes expendable.  Your job does not care about you.  Please get this through your head.  Your company cares about the bottom line and not how much money they can pay their employees.  The players fight is your fight if you do not own your own business.  Sometimes you have loose it all to gain back your self-respect.  How much does you job pay you annually?  Just enough to sacrafice the best hours of your life.  Just enough to make you miss out on your childrens events.  Just enough to set the example for your children that being a worker bee is the way to go.  Heaven forbid they try to make what they are worth.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: November 18, 2011 3:32 pm

For players, it's become too emotional

Yes 41 Really!
 The players can not expect to earn salaries that run the business into the ground. That is stubborn.

Vis 20/40 

Since: Aug 14, 2008
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:21 pm

For players, it's become too emotional

They all must be headed to a Boyz to Men look alike contest after the press conf.

Since: Oct 7, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 9:09 pm

For players, it's become too emotional

Finally I read a reational comment. It appears that very few people realize this is a business and not just a hobby for the owners. Even the latest offer, that a player's mouthpiece like Ken Berger thinks is completely in favor of the owners, looks like it only brings the overall league back to just the break even point. That is still no way to run any business. I know the word profit is anathema to a lot of the public but it is a requirement to stay in business. I find it hard to accept that the very well paid players cannot see the forest because of all the trees and help the league return to a sound financial footing.

Since: Nov 17, 2011
Posted on: November 17, 2011 8:52 pm

For players

1.  When LeBron James gets into an elevator with an unemployed person, the average person on that elevator makes $8,000,000/year.  That's how averages work.

2. "$5 million per year annually on average" <-- editor fail. 

3.  The owners have made consessions from their abusrd starting point and the players have made consessions from the previous agreement executed by both parties.  By not caving into all of the owners demands, the players are being stubborn? Really?

Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:19 pm

For players, it's become too emotional

I have said it before, and now this articles is saying it too.  For the players, its not about greed, its about PRIDE.  They know they are making great money, and having accepted the 50/50 split, there is absolutely no real reason not to accept the deal.

What's worse, having decided not to put the offer to a vote, or to at least make a counter offer, its quite apparent that it was the players that decided to quit negotiating.  No way they are going to win in court.  And in the end, they will probably end up taking the deal, or accepting a worse one.  But even if they get a better deal, the players will be unlikely to recoup the money they would have made had the games not been cancelled.

But they sure showed them owners!

Good for you guys.  You proved to be the exception to the rule that "pride goeth before a fall."  In your case, you would rather take the fall than swallow you pride.     

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 9:45 pm

For players, it's become too emotional

Vision 20/40 - spot on.

Billy Hunter said on a podcast that this has become a "moral" issue for the players. At the time, it just seemed like talk to try and scare the league. But clearly it's not. This is an emotional thing. And players are extremely emotional. They live off it. It's what drives them. They're competitive, emotional and passionate. Prideful.
The job of Hunter and Fisher is to work to move their constituents away from emotion and into reason. It needs to have been that way two years ago. But Hunter and Fisher has repeatedly appealed to the fans by emotion. Big surprise that the rest of the players followed their leaders? A hard cap was called a 'blood issue'. This is not Iraq. This is not a shooting war. This is business. You can say it is unacceptable. You can say it violates historical negotiations. You can say it is too much to swallow. But to say 'blood issue' is to evoke emotion from the players. This is no moral issue. Should the owners demand sterilization of the players that would be a moral issue. Asking to reduce losses is not a moral issue. It is simply good business. The result of this week is a huge F for both Fisher and Hunter. They have failed in their responsibility to the players.

To illustrate that failure consider that the average player only lasts four years in the NBA. Losing this year is not only a loss of a huge portion of a career for most players, for many players that are undrafted free agents and 2nd round draft picks it means the denial of any career at all. When and if training camps open next fall there will be another crop of 1st round draft picks entering teams. There will be more 2nd round picks seeking a job. There will be more undrafted free agents who have not been sitting idle for a year. And there will be more foreign players drafted in prior years ready to begin in the NBA. Hunter and Fisher have failed these also. All for pride and ego. All for Jeffrey Kessler to bill millions and perhaps hundreds of millions in a wasted effort in court. Kessler failed to get the NFLPA to jump off the cliff (reports he was sidelined in the successful negotiation sessions.) The NBPA did not learn from their NFL brethren that sham decertification and disinterest letters (a faster decertification) are seen by the courts as negotiating tactics and there is not anti-trust at all.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 7:40 pm

For players, it's become too emotional

What I find so confounding is that the players can't seem to realize that the Pay system was broken. Consecutive years of league wide losses and they go to the table and say 50/50 is an unfair deal? The fact of the matter is there were too many players making too much money and the business could not sustain that model. It had to change or the entire league folds. Too many players making gaurenteed money and many, many examples of players making mega bucks for doing little to nothing. A player would have a great year then break the bank on a contract and then proceed to suck  for the duration of the contract. There are too many examples to list. It happened time and time again. It was like we get paid no matter what the performance is, so who cares. That is a sign of a sick system. At the end of the day those kinds of deals killed it for the players who deserved the money. No one was looking at the bigger picture and saying, " how in the hell can this business survive paying all this money to bums, untested rookies and has beens and still survive?"The simple answer was it can't. The players who, "Stole" their money really need to look in the mirror and realize they runied the game. Call it greed, Selfishness, whatever. The NBA used to be fun and entertaining. The system got out of control.
  Why didn't the Union leadership say," look, we got away with murder, some players took money they didn't earn or deserve and some of the current players are being way over paid vs their performance. Lets take less and keep the lucrative business for us going." The bottom line is the players were getting more than they deserved and it caused a meltdown, as it would in any business. There comes a point a time when businesses losing money have to say enough! Losing money is not an option in any business so either everyone takes a cut OR there will be no jobs for anyone. This happens all the time in the real world. I am not against the players per say but I ask what do you call a group of people who are getting over paid so much money to the point of sinking the business? When does one or a few of them realize the time has come to give back. The time has come to make it a profitable exercise for everyone including the actaul business owners. The only solution was a roll back of Salaries and a restructured pay system. The players that excelled will still have made their money and the average guys would still make more in The NBA than doing anything else. That, to me, is not a concession from the union but rather putting things back to where they should of been to begin with. And yet still there was plenty of money, after this so-called concession, still to paid to these players. Taking a salary that allows a business to run in the black is just common sense.(and we are still talking millions here) This is just a case where the players thought they were bigger than the game itself. Well guess what? Surprise! YOU KILLED THE GOLDEN GOOSE! No matter what the courts rule they will never make back a year of lost salary. So the players lose even more. To me that is greed defined to the letter! It is just stupid!

Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: November 16, 2011 6:24 pm

For players, it's become too emotional

There will be a professional league and it will include many of the guys who won't play this year.

Not much will really change, but some contracts will need to be redone. TV packages, for example, are the first and most lucrative process that needs to be reworked. Rent on the various arenas, breach of contract, a whole lot of stuff is more complicated than what we really see on the surface.

I think most people who say they don't care about the NBA are really saying they don't like the way the game is played and they don't like the uber-star attitude of some of the top players. I'd agree. I seldom watch it. It's boring to me.

So's soccer.

This group of players got schnookered by the con men who run the legal end of the business -- and guess what? That happens to athletes ALL THE TIME.

The owners were the winners before this ever got started.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2011 5:40 pm

For players, it's become too emotional


you are right on there too, those lawyers played the players association like a freaking puppet.  Now unless the players can stop their pridefullness, this will become a dragged out process for some time, mo money to the Law firm.

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