While the mainstream media continues to ignore or belittle the Occupy movement, the struggle against the 1% has leaked into a forum wherein even the most jaded ESPN Sportscenter Jockey cannot ignore it. The NBA Lockout has shown how little regard the truly wealthy have for everyone else – even those who play integral roles in the creation of their wealth. This article reports that the mayors of 14 NBA cities have drafted an open letter to the NBA.
We are the Mayors of our country’s NBA cities. Every year, our residents pack the arenas where our teams play. They buy the NBA’s products. They cheer for their favorite players with passion and intensity. They attend games and make lasting memories with family and friends. Many own or work at small businesses that depend on NBA games for survival. No matter how you look at it, our NBA teams are a vital part of the economic and social fabric of our cities.
Unfortunately, lost in the debate over a new NBA collective bargaining agreement, has been the perspective of those very residents and the negative impact a cancelled season might have on them, our cities and our local economies.
We know the issues being discussed between NBA owners and players are complex and need to be addressed to ensure the long-term wellbeing of the league. We are not interested in taking a side. The United States Conference of Mayors has always maintained impartiality in major leagues sports negotiations.
Rather, we respectfully ask that you consider the consequences to our cities should the lockout continue. We ask that you work quickly to find a way to compromise so that we might salvage the upcoming NBA season.
We are proud to call our cities home to NBA franchises. As basketball fans, we know winning and losing is part of the game. Rest assured; everyone loses if there is no season.
If we can be of any help to the process of securing the upcoming season, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Mayor Gregory A. Ballard, Indianapolis; Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando; Mayor Kevin Johnson, Sacramento; Mayor A. C. Wharton , Jr., Memphis; Mayor Vincent Gray, Washington, D.C.; Mayor Michael Nutter, Philadelphia; Mayor Phil Gordon, Phoenix; Mayor Annise D. Parker, Houston; Mayor Mike Rawlings, Dallas; Mayor Anthony Foxx, Charlotte; Mayor David Bing, Detroit; Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake City; Mayor Julian Castro, San Antonio; Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver
In other words, “Hey Dirtbags, we paid for your arenas. Stop screwing us.” There is no doubt that there will be major economical impacts to NBA cities that do not have a season this year. As you can see from the list of mayors above, the majority are from small and medium sized markets. These are the cities that can least afford to lose the jobs and influx of spending from outside the city that a major sports franchise brings in. That is part of the bargain when you give tax breaks, build arenas, and otherwise cater to the demands of a wealthy sports franchise owner, you expect something back.
It speaks to the general sentiment of the Occupy movement. “We gave you everything you wanted. Lower taxes. Less regulation. Bailouts. We have nothing to show for it. This is not fair. We will not stand for it.” Except for the “we will no stand for it” part. The fact is, the owners have the mayors, like the players, by the short and curlies. They will lockout for as long as they need, rest of the world be damned, so they can get theirs. So their fortunes can grow. Hey, you don’t get to be in the 1% by playing nicely, fairly, or conscientiously. You do it by going out and grabbing as much as you can, as quickly as you can, and to hell with the consequences.
Even if those consequences happen to be people’s lives.