The more I look at this lockout , the more I see two sides that are just like kids. In need of attention, in need of new toys, and not wanting to lose any of theirs to that garage sale mommy and daddy are organizing due to the economic crisis. Two brothers who are a great duo when playing in a band together, but don’t really sound that good on their respective instruments, fighting over who gets to keep the leftover toys, or who gets more playing time on their xbox. They don’t realize it yet, but unless they work together, unless they share the leftovers, and play co-op, mommy and daddy are going to hide their toys, lock up the xbox and teach them a lesson in selflessness.
I didn’t have a brother until I was 13 or so, and even then, he wasn’t a blood brother. He was brought into my family when my dad remarried and, while we shared our ups and downs, we’ve never had anything shared per se. Yeah, we shared stuff, but we didn’t have a shared computer or anything like that, allowing us to coexist without such a scuffle. While in the future we did have our arguments (mostly about girls, we were the same age after all), I’ve never experienced any situation where I had to come to a compromise with my brother about something. Maybe, because we were both rather nice guys, or maybe because our parents spoiled us a bit. Whatever the case, I cannot relate to the experience fathoming on both sides right now. What I did however have, was awful medicine.
As cliched as it is, disgusting medicine exists. Mostly the kind of pre-emptive crap you get, just to ensure you’re not getting sick in flu season like a grapefruit seed extract or ginger tea, which absolutely burned my throat at the time. And then, during the sickness, traditional homemade medicine such as milk with garlic were not uncommon. The idea of drinking any of those makes me kind of sick. But, while back when I was five or six couldn’t possibly fathom that something so disgusting can actually help me, now I understand that sometimes, the most disgusting thing in the world, might make you feel better in the end.
This is the kind of trade-off both sides face come Monday or Tuesday. Let’s not pretend that the players are the only ones making concessions here. It’s a new deal, a new reality for the owners, who know that as the party owning the league, they dictate their will, and none more than the NHL-NBA owners. Yes, decertification is an option, but the court battles will hurt the players more than they will hurt them, and are more or less, a double-edged sword for the NBPA, a sword they shouldn’t use when an acceptable deal is on the table. The owners know, that with that right, they’re making concessions, coming down from their hard-lines and even attempting a bigger dialog. Yes, the players lost 7% in revenue since the last lockout. They also gained a load of money from the ever expanding advertisement industry, a load that would’ve been much smaller had the NBA not spread the way it has. The players play, but the owners make it more accessible to the public.
Both sides will lose something in this deal. David Stern said it himself in today’s conference, in between an air conditioner joke and a wisecracker zing pointed at Howard Beck. Not all the owners are going to like this deal, but the majority will. Concede more? You might lose that majority. As for the players? They have to remember that there are guys who’d rather lose a season out there. The Jordan’s of the world, if you will. They want to re-work the system the way the NHL did, and they have every right to do so. In the end, owners almost always win. Why risk it all with decertification, when you have something absolutely ok on your table?
Sometimes, you just got to split the toys, share the xbox time and swallow that one disgusting syrup that your parents are shoving down your throat, because that’s the only way to avoid it all getting worse. Hopefully, by Tuesday, both sides will understand what’s at stake here.