While NBA players launch their moronic “Let Us Play” campaign on Twitter, it’s safe to say they won’t have to worry about their next rent or mortgage payment for a while.
Maybe they should try selling peanuts at Philips Arena.
The NBA has canceled the first two weeks of the regular season. So far, there’s no massive hysteria among the fan base. No surprise.
But here’s something to think about: While owners and players engage in a high-level, thumb-twiddling war, a lot of regular people with regular jobs are about to lose a significant part of their income.
Front office employees of the Hawks have yet to hear from either impending new owner Alex Meruelo or impending lame duck majority owners from the Atlanta Spirit about whether there will be a payroll reduction — be it in the form of layoffs, furloughs or salary cuts. But at the very least, about 300-plus game-day employees — concessionaires, ushers, ticket-takers, stat crew members, security, etc. — are out of jobs. Restaurants at CNN Center and around Philips Arena already took a hit when the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg.
This lockout will last as long as it takes for players to cave. The owners created this mess by giving out stupid contracts. But the economics of this league can’t support the current CBA and the players need to realize that. Until then, regular people with regular jobs will take the hit.
When the NFL locked out out the players during collective bargaining talks), Falcons owner Arthur Blank instituted mandatory two-week furloughs (although he reimbursed workers after a new CBA was reached).
The Hawks were scheduled to play their first exhibition Monday night at Philips against the Detroit Pistons. The last time there was a NBA work stoppage in 1998-99, the league played a 50-game season, which began Feb. 5.
To the credit of Hawks’ ownership at the time (Turner/Time Warner) and then team president Stan Kasten, the Hawks did not have any front office layoffs or salary cuts during that lockout. There are no such guarantees this time.
By Jeff Schultz