Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“For years owners have treated players as if they are just their property,” (agent Aaron) Goodwin said, “fining them over how they dress, act, everything. This is the first time the players have the opportunity to say no.”
That’s not an outlandish claim. For the past twelve years (since our last labor shutdown), Stern capped contracts and rookie deals so players didn’t get paid too much (or too much right away). He instituted a mandatory dress code so injured players looked more professional (translation: less “urban”). He cracked down on taunting during games, physical play, leaving the bench during altercations and anything else that might lead to another Artest Melee or Kermit/Rudy scenario. He pushed players to participate in “NBA Cares,” fined them for not showing up on time to All-Star Weekend, fined them for avoiding the press during the playoffs and basically treated them like an overbearing high school principal. And, of course, he made every decision in his typically smug, sarcastic, endearing-or-bullying-depending-on-how-you-feel-about-him manner.
I don’t blame Stern — sometimes you’re the last to know. I think that he thought his track record was impeccable. He can’t see how his players see him in 2011 — as the little/old/sarcastic/white/out-of-touch dictator who patronizes them, orders them around, genuinely feels like THEY should listen to HIM, and by the way, works for the owners (and not them). And it’s not like fans are delighted with him, either. He stopped thinking outside the box years ago.5
Bill Simmons perfectly captures the players perspective in his latest Grantland column. In a nutshell, they’re mad as hell at David Stern and not going to take his BS anymore.
It’s not fair to say this lockout would have been avoided had Stern retired a few years ago. But his absence would, at least, removed some of the “personal grudge factor” that’s clogging negotiations.
I stopped reading after 15 paragraphs. Let me know if there is anything interesting in the remaining 20 paragraphs.
The rest of the links: