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Blog Entry

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

Posted on: August 5, 2011 4:22 pm
This was all working out so well for the players. Deron Williams said hasta la vista to the lockout and took his talents to Turkey. Kevin Durant lit up Rucker Park with 66 points. Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony went to China and supposedly came back with lucrative offers for themselves and all their pals.

Or not.

To this point, no superstar has followed D-Will to Turkey or anywhere else. There are complications with these supposedly lucrative offers in China. And oh, we now bring you the widely anticipated and sadly inevitable news of Michael Beasley shoving a fan in the face and Matt Barnes punching an opponent during pro-am games on either coast.

We don't even want to get into the escapades of three former NBA players in the news this week -- Darius Miles, who was arrested for trying to bring a loaded gun through airport security, Rafer Alston, who was sued over his alleged role in a strip club fight, and Samaki Walker, who allegedly tried to dine on eight grams of marijuana during a traffic stop in Arizona, during which police also confiscated prescription drugs and liquid steroids.

Guns, strip clubs and weed -- the trifecta of ammunition for those quick to stereotype NBA players as outlaws, lawbreakers and menaces to society. Great job, guys.

It’s a lockout, so NBA players must be behaving badly. And they are.

I’ve written previously on my disappointment that the stars with all the clout aren’t speaking up for the union in the ongoing labor dispute, preferring instead to stay quiet and tend to their own affairs. The latest flare-up from the NBPA’s knucklehead contingent is proof why union officials disagreed with my premise all along. Simply put, they were happy that the players, by and large, had been conducting themselves professionally during the lockout and not stepping out of line – a la Kenny Anderson, who turned the public on the players when he lamented having to sell some of his luxury cars during the 1998-99 lockout.

The union, it appears, will give up a few sound-byte points to David Stern so long as it can avoid the Kenny Anderson moment. Except now, they have the Michael Beasley moment and the Matt Barnes moment.

The NBA has gone to great lengths in recent years to curtail on-court behavior, clamping down on gesturing, complaining to officials, and the like. But no such rules were in effect at New York City’s Dyckman Park, where Beasley “mushed” the face of a heckler Thursday night. Nor were they in effect at Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, where Barnes punched an opponent in a pro-am game on the very same night.

Such offenses in an NBA game would’ve earned an ejection, a hefty fine and a pointed rebuke from Stern. But the commissioner has no authority over the players now except in how he nonchalantly eviscerated all their bargaining positions with a smile on ESPN Tuesday night.

“They’re not serious about making a deal with the NBA,” Stern said, with no on-air response from any union representative. “They’re so busy talking about their decertification strategy, following the lead of their attorney, Jeffrey Kessler who did it for the NFL players, and engaging in conversations with agents about it and talking about it constantly, that we think that is distracting them from getting serious and making a deal.”

And now, some players are busy slugging playground wannabes and “mushing” the faces of hecklers from coast to coast, failing to realize that everyone in attendance has a phone capable of recording video and uploading it YouTube for all the world to see. Big difference from the last lockout, when we only got to read about a fraction of the follies the next day in the newspaper.

Making matters worse, just when it seemed that the players had a Kenny Anderson moment to pin on Stern – his bloated salary, which was reported to be between $15 million and $23 million – well, never mind. The Associated Press weighed in, citing multiple league sources who said Stern makes less than baseball commissioner Bud Selig ($18 million) and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ($11 million). A person with knowledge of the activities of the NBA’s advisory/finance committee – a group of 11 owners who set Stern’s salary – confirmed to that $10 million or less was “in the ballpark.”

So to sum up, the best strategy the players have against the owners is to walk a straight line (except, now some of them are not) and the threat of stars going overseas (except only one star has done so). And even if more follow – even if 20 more follow – where does that leave the other 400 players? To stay home and receive weekly updates from NBPA president Derek Fisher about how the owners still haven’t moved off their “my-way-or-the-highway” proposal – or to go out and play for free in some exhibition game, where one union member or another might just have to slug somebody?

It’s a tough act to follow, but several star players will try. Even if a dozen or more of them get lucrative deals in China or somewhere else for $1 million a month, that’s still a small fraction of their NBA salaries. Don’t you think Jerry Buss would jump at the chance to pay Kobe Bryant $1 million a month? That’s a hefty discount off his NBA haul of $25 million a year.

How is all of this intertwined? Everything is intertwined during a lockout, and must be viewed through the prism of whether it helps or hurts the players’ bargaining position. Going off on a heckler or opponent at some exhibition game does not qualify as helpful. Except to the traffic on YouTube.

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: August 8, 2011 6:28 pm

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

Every labor dispute in sports is the same.  The fans and the media blame the players, who are the real value in the league.  And the owners make out like bandits, skimming way more value off the top than they are providing, pillaging communities for their tax dollars, and blaming the players for the owners mistakes.

is it any surprise!?  Americans vote against their own self interest most of the time.  The side with ownere in every walk of life.  Its like they think they too are owners and not just employees.  Its amazing to say the least.  I think its most peoples inability to see the brainwashing and its effect on how you think. We are trained by society to go to college, get good grades, and go to work for someone that was a C student. its seems this stuff is brought over to the sports world as well.

Since: Aug 6, 2011
Posted on: August 8, 2011 5:24 pm

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

The Atlanta Hawks, a team with lousy attendance for years, was purchased in 2004 for $208 million and just sold for over $300 million.

Yeah, these owners are losing money.  Right. 

The public take on this whole lockout just proves that there's a sucker born every minute.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: August 8, 2011 9:14 am

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

Oh, is the season over?  I hadn't noticed.  With reports of stupid, criminal behavior on the part of players and criminally stupid behavior on the part of owners, it's like the NBA is still there ... as another poster said, this is just like "the patch" for me; soon I'll be done with pro sports all together and can save the $120 a month I'm currently paying for cable.  In fact, when my current cable contract is up, I think I'm going to lock **** out, head out to a strip club, smoke some weed, and threaten people with a gun--since I'll have all that extra money and power!

Since: May 15, 2010
Posted on: August 8, 2011 7:16 am

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

You're's why I don't spend my 'sports dollars' watching these idiots.  Allen Iverson, Gilbert Arenas...really?

Since: Oct 22, 2007
Posted on: August 7, 2011 9:40 am

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

Samaki Walker is an adult and former NBA player who, as far as I know, doesn't play in a pro league anymore. Unless he intended to distribute any of that stuff to minors, I don't see where he did anything wrong. The guns and the fights, on the other hand, are another thing entirely.

Since: Aug 6, 2011
Posted on: August 6, 2011 7:14 pm

Sadly, it's owners behaving badly?

Where's the puff piece about how the owners are misbehaving?

When are you going to right about them lieing about losing money?  How it's false that 22 of the 30 teams are losing money?  How the league as a whole is making very good money, the tv ratings are high, the attendance is quite decent given the recent economy?  Where's the article about the owners filing a bogus lawsuit over union decertification, where the union hasn't even attempted that?  How the suit was just created to choose the court district for any future legal action to be the one most favorable for the owners?  Where's the piece on how nba teams sell for an all time high?  Where's the piece on how better revenue sharing could help out the handful of owners who really are in the red (as opposed to the 22 the owners claim)?  Why should players, who ARE THE LEAGUE, reduce their share of the revenue to cover a problem that is really one that can be settled by the owners with their existing share of the pie?

Every labor dispute in sports is the same.  The fans and the media blame the players, who are the real value in the league.  And the owners make out like bandits, skimming way more value off the top than they are providing, pillaging communities for their tax dollars, and blaming the players for the owners mistakes.

Since: Jan 5, 2009
Posted on: August 6, 2011 5:36 pm

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

Doc Walker of Sports Talk 980 said it best...

"Just because you make a million dollars does not mean you are a millionaire."

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: August 6, 2011 4:32 pm

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

Starblazer, you're manifesto is spot on and I don't know how any of this nonsense will ever change. Our country has become a nation of idiots and just need to be entertained on a regular basis. Hence, the obscene salaries that most all entertainers enjoy. Americans today would prefer plopping in front of TV instead of taking a hike, reading a novel, or helping out their community. For the first time, I detect cracks developing in the U.S. that makes this once-great nation vulnerable.

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: August 6, 2011 3:25 pm

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

A band of Thugs,......that's what many of the NBA players are,and it's a bad look for the players that actually act like men and not little gang thugs.....the NBA  is on a path of destruction and has been for quite awhile.

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: August 6, 2011 3:15 pm

Sadly, it's players behaving badly

How is all of this intertwined? Everything is intertwined during a lockout, and must be viewed through the prism of whether it helps or hurts the players’ bargaining position. Going off on a heckler or opponent at some exhibition game does not qualify as helpful. Except to the traffic on YouTube.
It's not the lockout. It's the state of pro athletes and professional sports today. No sport is immune. Hockey has Steve Avery pushing a cop and threatening to fight him. The NFL has cases too numerous to mention highlighted by punks like Vick and Roethlisberger. The NBA's list is growing each day. MLB has guys like Rodriguez who has been linked the illegal gambling. They also had the steroid imbroglio. Before that, the cocaine trials of the 1980's. This is hardly anything new, but still is pathetic and troubling.
Why is that? Well, first of all these guys make gobs of money and have a lot of free time. Too few have interests which keep them out of trouble. Most are young and want to have fun and with their resources and entourages encouraging them, wind up in bad situations. They're often coddled, immature and feel immune to laws and the mores of society. You combine that with a media thirsting for information, a way to get readers/viewers and it's a volatile mix. The 24/7 news cycle spares no one. The internet is pervasive.

What truly pathetic is this country's economy is plunging to the abyss, unemployment is truly @ 12.3 percent(9.1 officially) and many ppl aren't even trying anymore. The US Gov't just had their bond rating lowered by S & P. Congress is basically useless and the President of the US has shown virtually no leadership. With all this happening, who cares about if multi-million dollar players and multi-billion dollar owners make more money? The NBA isn't the NFL either. Though the same facts and circumstances apply, ppl would really miss the NFL. The NBA is nowhere near the popularity, which in the NFL's case is a cult status. If the season was lost, they'd have the NFL, NHL, MLB and college football/basketball to watch and follow. The NBA doesn't have the cache.

Let them go to Europe and play. Let them decertify. let them posture. In the end, their short-term gains will only hurt them and the sport. The owners are no better. The only difference is many of them are faceless. No one cheers or roots for them. They about maximizing profits. That's why their uber-rich and have these toys. They didn't get there by losing. They'll eventually have to decide how much they want and are willing to compromise. They also have the best commissioner in sports and maybe ever. He's their rudder. Billy Hunter is a smart guy and good negotiator. He's been around the block. However, you have to wonder if he can deal with these younger(every year) and too often insolent players. Decertification? That didn't work too well for the NFLPA. The courts? That didn't work too well for the NFLPA. In the end, it boils down to trust and really negotiating. When that happens agreements are fomented and progress is made. Both sides should institute a self-induced gag order. Don't talk to anyone but each other. Find common ground and move the sport forward.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or