Sports should be and usually are a way to relax and be entertained, giving us a release from the daily grind and an outlet to blow off steam. With the financial and social climate in flux, sports may turn out to be even more important than ever for our collective sanity.
We all held our breath as the NFL lockout day counter tallied each day that passed without an agreement on a new CBA between the players and owners. Just as our faces went red from lack of oxygen, an announcement was made that there would indeed be an NFL season. Right at the moment that fans were about to burst and revolt in anger, that first breath of relief swept over, resulting in a tidal wave of emotions. The dizziness and stars that were seen in those first moments quickly dissipated and even though there were no games immediately following the announcement, the thought of games actually being played quickly squelched any resentment fans had for either party.
In the heat of the stalemate, fans’ frustration built as millionaires fought over money with other billionaires and jeopardized hardworking Americans’ favorite weekend excitement. As games continue to be shaved off the NBA’s potential season this year from the same fiscal fight, fan frustration has yet to reach a boiling point even though the NBA skirmish has been a far more bloody battle than that of the NFL. Pundit(Greg Gumbe) even compared team owners to plantation owners with slaves.
With the explosion of social media, fans are at their most influential point in history. Public perception was key in getting the NFL to hammer out a new contract and the lack of public outcry may be the most harmful facet to the NBA.
The NBA has come a long way since airing the Finals on tape delay after the late local news in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, but this lockout will test how much clout the league has with the fans themselves. Will fans demand a return to action or will the outrage be absent during football season? If football pacifies fans until after the BCS bowl games and the Super Bowl, it may be too late to salvage the NBA season.
All games through the end of November have been cancelled and we are only halfway through the football season, so even if a new agreement is worked out before the playoffs and all the bowl games, we will most likely miss out on at least another month of the NBA. The shot clock on the NBA season is ticking dowe, and by the time anyone decides to start “occupy NBA, it will have reached double zeroes and LeBron will have to take his talents to the 2012- 2013 season.
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Jonathan Boldt can be reached at jonboldt@gmail. com. You can follow him on Twitter @jboldt24.