Sports used to be just that — sports. There wasn’t any need to know the intricacies of a collective bargaining agreement, or even what a CBA was. The commissioner of a sports league wasn’t hounded by reporters every day, and if you knew what basketball-related revenue was, you were probably an agent.
Yet with the NFL embroiled in a labor dispute with its referees and the NHL seemingly hurtling towards another lockout with its players, it’s hard not to notice that the realities of sports as businesses is creeping into the everyday discussion of everybody’s favorite teams.
The NHL and NHLPA called off talks on Friday, after the owners decided that what the players called a “proposal” was actually just a “response.” Semantics aside, the fact that the two sides are this far apart with this little time remaining before the CBA expires raises a very real concern that the NHL is headed towards its second lockout in recent years.
Meanwhile, the NFL has reportedly reopened discussions with its locked-out referees days after announcing that replacements refs will start the season. The progress is encouraging, but the fact that it has gone on this far has done nothing but reflect poorly on the league — and the replacement refs — for the sake of a few dollars here or there.
The innocence that fans have when it comes to rooting for teams is slipping away, little by little, dollar for dollar, and those responsible for the health of the games don’t seem to care. Sure, fans will always tune in because that’s what fans do. It would just be nice if they didn’t have to with the financial aspects of it all looming over everything.
“The argument would be, unfortunately for you Pats fans, is when you guys win ‑‑ what was it, 18 and 0, and unfortunately lost one, that’s kind of the argument.”
–Tiger Woods, explaining how the PGA Tour playoffs work, or something
WHICH ONE IS IT?!?!?
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) September 1, 2012
This must have been before Dwight Howard demanded a trade to another ping pong team.