NBA Lockout: A DC College Student's Perspective on the Labor Situation

Alex GiobbiAnalyst INovember 7, 2011

David Stern is a greedy pig.
David Stern is a greedy pig.Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

I am a freshman at the Catholic University of America, a private university located in northeastern Washington DC. CUA is on the Red Line of the Washington Metro Rail System, and it is a mere five stops away from the Gallery Place-Chinatown-Verizon Center stop.

I have been to the Verizon Center three times already, two of which were for hockey games. However, I would really love to go to my first NBA game. 

I had the choice of attending college in Buffalo at Canisius College, where two major league sports are played, or Washington DC, where all four major league sports are played. I chose DC, hoping that in addition to getting a degree in Media Studies, I might be able to attend a few sporting events, and maybe even gain an internship with one of the teams.

Instead of seeing John Wall and the Wizards play this year, in addition to Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals and Ryan Zimmerman and the Nationals, I have been watching SportsCenter, reading every news source, hoping to gain some insight as to how the negotiations are going. The news has not been pleasant. 

When games were cancelled not but a few weeks ago, I knew that the season was in jeopardy. Having lived through the 1994 MLB strike and the 2004-05 NHL lockout, though, I can honestly say that I am somewhat willing to accept the fact that there may not be basketball during my first year of college.

With the labor situation still going on as I compose this article, I can honestly say that I am disappointed. Not only am I disappointed in commissioner David Stern and Billy Hunter, executive director of the players' association, I am disappointed in the financial business that professional sports has become.

Stern, first of all, is a bad commissioner. Under his watch, the NBA has gone through four lockouts; that's two more than in the NFL and NHL, and four more than in Major League Baseball, which prefers strikes to lockouts. Stern is considered crooked, often preferring marketability to integrity (see: Patrick Ewing draft controversy). In short, he's no better than a common thief.

Hunter is just pathetic. The fact that he can't get anything done shows that change needs to be in order in order for the NBPA to save face. That means he and Derek Fisher should consider stepping down.

Put Stern and Hunter together and you have a two-headed monster that is toxic to the Association, the players, the owners, and most of all, the fans. 

Now that I mention the fans, I must say that they have demonstrated character in waiting for the storm to end. I'm surprised that they haven't formed an Occupy movement. As fans, we should be angry. We pay the price for the owners' and players' greed. We are the ones who miss out on NBA basketball, and it seems no one cares about us.

To be totally honest, I think Stern and Hunter disregard us because they think we're the idiots. To be honest, there are some fans who are idiots, but the rest of us have at least a basic grasp of the economics of the NBA. After all, we're the ones paying the price of admission.

While I appreciate the efforts of some players, who have opted to start All-Star showcases, join the Drew and Goodman Leagues, and make it seem like they want to play instead of sitting on their lazy butts, cashing in their checks, I honestly have to think that it would be better if they made a really aggressive push to end this lockout.

The players themselves are not responsible; rather, David Stern and Billy Hunter are to blame for a lack of pro basketball this year. Thus, both should consider stepping down and let people who at least know how to negotiate a settlement between the two sides take control of the situation.

We the fans are upset that we have to endure the selfishness and shortsightedness that has beset the NBA, and thus we believe that the lockout should end—or the NBA will suffer more than just the loss of a season.