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Dan LeBatard --Owners get a free pass from fans

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by Clips/Roxfan, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. Clips/Roxfan

    Clips/Roxfan Member

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    MIAMI -- Page by astounding page, this month's Vanity Fair - and every month's, really - details how dumb some rich people can be while squandering their fortunes. You know, the usual stuff - like the Sultan of Brunei buying $8 million in luxury watches. In the issue, there are sloppy hedge-fund managers, farmers, lawyers, politicians - all of them making you wonder how they were ever smart enough to build mountains of money in the first place.


    And it got me to thinking about sports owners.


    Page by astounding page, Business Insider chronicles what it calls the 14 worst business practices of Washington Redskins czar Daniel Snyder, as if there were only 14. You know, the usual stuff - such as using cancer patients and diabetics as target groups to grow his direct-marketing business; allegedly having football vendors at games sell recycled peanuts made and packaged for an airline that had gone under a year earlier; and adding a $4 "security" charge to football tickets after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while also selling $23.99 commemorative Sept. 11 hats, too.


    And it got me to thinking about how often fans side with sports owners in financial disputes.

    Page by astounding page, I read about the life of the partying Maloof brothers who own the Sacramento Kings. You know, the usual stuff - such as appearing in videos for Ludacris, Lil Wayne and Katy Perry; running skateboarding and casino ventures after making their money in beer; and making reality TV with Lindsay Lohan. The Maloofs are in enough financial trouble now that, even as their sport is shut down by mismanagement, they're trying to hop on a skateboard and take the team to another basketball-hungry city that will dilute their debt.


    And it got me to thinking about how often fans accuse players of being greedy and spoiled and entitled.

    Basketball and football are out of work, owners wanting to take back some of what they've already given, and there can be no dispute on whose fault that is. The players are fine with the systems, the pay, everything. The players want to work. It is the owners, and only the owners, threatening to keep us from our games while fighting over our dollars. Why are we here? Well, here's a symbol: Buffalo's 92-year-old Ralph Wilson emerged from football meetings the last time a contract was collectively bargained and admitted he had no earthly idea to what he had just agreed.


    I get why fans tend to side with owners during things like contract disputes, holdouts or strikes, even though it is the rare instance in public opinion when siding with management is popular and even though a fan base comprised mostly of underdog employees ends up rooting against underdog employees. Fans just want their players on the field, period, helping their team, their city and, by extension, the people in the stands paying and cheering. They just want their entertainment. Will Smith and Lady Gaga don't go on strike.


    So owners and fans can unite then in filing their own self-interests under the utopian "team." The fan's interest mirrors the owner's interest, even though it is an illusion because the owners' primary interest is usually the fan's wallet. The player, meanwhile, has to care about himself first, because a bank teller can't do anything with all that conditional fan adulation, and because loyalty in sports is something that lasts only as long as the player's production. But I understand why striking players are hit with "greedy" while owners get the public-perception benefit of filing a lock out under "business."


    Here's what I don't get: How much less respect athletes get for "earning" their money than owners do. Not less worshipped or praised or celebrated. Respected. And how much does that lack of respect have to do with whose side fans take during disputes between the two groups?


    I believe it is more difficult to be an elite athlete than it is to be sports-owner rich, more difficult to be Albert Pujols than the guy with enough money to sign his checks. But even as our economy crumbles with fraud and foreclosure, even as the Los Angeles Dodgers file for bankruptcy, there is this ill-informed illusion that sports owners persevered with elbow grease/bootstraps/grit to build an empire while the athlete just got lucky and won a genetic lottery. Making money on Wall Street is viewed as "earning" your wealth in a way dunking a basketball isn't, even as our economy shakes under the weight of a million Madoffs.


    An owner's way of "earning" is somehow more noble, right? Even when it is James Dolan or Donald Sterling or George Bush or Marge Schott or William Clay Ford?


    Granted, LeBron James had to be born into 6-8. But Jerry Jones also had to strike gas on the first 13 wells he drilled. There is luck involved in making it anywhere. And sometimes all you need is one good idea to get rich. Ask George Foreman which is more difficult - the hundreds of millions he made taking punches to the face or the hundreds of millions he made putting his name on a grill. Once you hit on that idea, like the Seattle Mariners owner did on Nintendo, you can flop the way he did with investments in taxi services, instant rice and short-stay hotels and have your baseball team cover other losses.

    (Short-stay hotels! How do you fail at the sex business?)


    I suppose you could argue that Peyton and Eli were lucky to have the QB chromosome hand-me-downed from Archie Manning, but they are no luckier than Twins owner Jim Pohlad or Chiefs owner Clark Hunt or Heat owner Micky Arison - all of whom inherited teams and family businesses from their fathers. Risk? There's a financial risk owners take in investing and re investing in your team that athletes don't have? Yes and no. The risks Browns running back Peyton Hillis takes with brain injury - as an investment, as a way of earning - are vastly more dangerous than the risks Browns owner Randy Lerner takes with the dollars and team he inherited from Dad.


    There is no real risk in owning an NFL team. It is our most popular and profitable sport. NFL teams appreciate every year. That talking gorilla starring opposite Kevin James in Zookeeper could profit owning an NFL team. Jones bought the Cowboys for $150 million. And now he is one of the few billionaires among American sports owners - most of that money derived from what the Cowboys are worth.


    And, unlike owners, players don't ask taxpayers to help them build their homes.

    'Making money on Wall Street is viewed as "earning" your wealth in a way dunking a basketball isn't.'


    Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/07/...l#ixzz1RwQywTjh
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. BMoney

    BMoney Contributing Member

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  3. Chris Jent MVP

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    i don't give the owners a free pass. but i give them the benefit of the doubt because without them there would be no nba.
     
  4. meh

    meh Contributing Member

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    In any player vs owner debate, I can't really see how a fan of any "team" can side with the players. Player earning more doesn't benefit the fans from a collective standpoint. It's not like the players getting 55% rather than 50% of revenue make your team any better. They'll just make more money at where they play.

    But despite the fact that owners are greedy bastards, they do tend to spend in relation to what they earn to an extent. Cleveland during Lebron's days, for example, had much higher salaries than previously. And it's certainly not because the owner suddenly felt more generous. Sure, there are some owners who never spend. But most of them in good financial shape will go the extra mile to win.
     
  5. emcitymisfit

    emcitymisfit Member

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    Great article. Repped for posting.
     
  6. greenhippos

    greenhippos Member

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    You can't argue that, the players don't spend money in relationship to what they earn on the fans. Owners will spend more on payroll, and provide better accommodations to us if they make more money. Although my only problem is there should be a hardcap and I think the rookies make too much money.
     
  7. napalm06

    napalm06 Huge Flopping Fan

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    Owners set the ticket prices, so as a fan I'm much concerned about their motives and decision making than a bunch of young adults who can jump high.
     
  8. Louka

    Louka Contributing Member

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    What an awful awful read... mostly because it was mostly a waste of time. Aside from that, you can't say owners don't deserve their money because they don't spend it well, lolz. Money should be distributed accordingly... and the people that you work for should get paid more than you, right? Basketball is a business and you're getting mad since people conducting a business aren't giving you what you desire... great. You'll be back and they know it.
     
  9. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    That's like saying without the owners of coal mining companies, there would be no coal mining industry.

    GO UNION!!!

    besides...a hard cap will level the playing field and dilute what advantages Morey has achieved while spending wisely. bet me.
     
  10. TexAg713

    TexAg713 Member

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    wholeheartedly agree. i also dont understand why we need a lockout when its the owners that choose to hand out absurd contracts and accelerate the inflation of salaries. they should pay for their own stupidity, not the fans and not the players. Is it Joe Johnson's fault ATL gave him that huge contract? Why did they do that, knowing full well they would regret it soon after? they have the ability to rub two brain cells together and not buy into the inflated market bubble that is player salaries. It is their job after all, and anyone handing out multi million dollar contracts should be qualified to properly assess the associated risks.

    why does there need to be an official hard cap, when the owners, if they truly collectively believe it is necessary, could theoretically simply institute a self-imposed cap? sort of like price fixing i suppose, but they could agree among themselves to not exceed a certain number. Wishful thinking, I know.

    When players dont play well, they essentially get fired one way or another. When coaches dont coach, they get fired. Cant fire an owner so when he underperforms the market holds him accountable and he feels it in his bottom line. He can cut costs, sell, or move the team. Bottom line is the fans shouldnt pay for the consequences of mismanagement, although because we are seen as sheep they will surely attempt to shift those costs onto us. And when we stop feeling the experience is worth the money, well, tough cookies, that's their problem, not ours. Theyve finally realized they need to regulate themselves instead of counting on the loyalty of fans to absorb costs, but theyll try one last ditch attempt to blame the players before looking in the mirror.

    anyway, long story short, if they just learned to manage their finances like, say, a Daryl Morey, they could have navigated on with the last CBA no problem. Pretty sure the Rockets aren't losing money, and from what Ive read we somehow arent considered one of the major market teams. The other owners are essentially begging for training wheels with the new CBA. All i gotta say is, grow up and learn to do your damn job you morons. Just cause everyone else is buying truckloads of collateralized debt obligations doesn't mean you need to leverage yourself out and risk all your chips too. This is like wall street asking the government to bail them out at taxpayer expense. Infuriating.
     
  11. TexAg713

    TexAg713 Member

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    It's probably been mentioned somewhere before as well, but why cant they just increase the luxury tax multifold to even things out? If they can't achieve a hard cap, wouldnt that essentially net the same results if it prohibitive enough?
     
  12. Parlett316

    Parlett316 Contributing Member

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    I stopped reading when he said that Ralph Wilson had no idea what he signed.

    Wilson was right to not want the original deal, it was a bad deal for the owners and that's why we have our current lockout.
     
  13. Raven

    Raven Member

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    More fan bashing, is that his schtick? I think free agency and guaranteed contracts have ruined the NBA, and I support any effort to address those two problems, simple as that.
     
  14. TexAg713

    TexAg713 Member

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    Eh, I think he's bashing the ownership far more than the fans. He's just saying the fans aren't intimate with the details of what's going on and just wanna watch the players play ball. The owners get away with mismanagement and being held to a lower ethical standard because they aren't as visible as the players, who are always expected to "take one for the team" by their fans.
     

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