Painting Professional athletes as some kind of preyed upon subclass because they are not allowed to play in whatever city they like is one of the most bizarre mutations of logic I’ve seen on Twitter.
The NBA has been trying to figure out why its players aren’t happier. One possible factor as we head into the draft: Incoming NBA players aren’t afforded the most basic amenity of professional and personal happiness: a say in where you work and live:https://t.co/wrUrZrqujL
— Kevin Arnovitz (@kevinarnovitz) June 18, 2019
Kevin Arnovitz isn’t some moron blathering nonsense. He writes quite well for ESPN.com and makes some interesting points while offering a well known option to the draft. But if the players don’t like the current system, they only have themselves to blame.
I’m not one of those cavemen who screams, “Who cares about millionaires being happy! I would take their worst day in a second – IN A SECOND! They play basketball for a living, and are paid millions and millions of dollars!” But I’m also not going to whine for the lost rights of men who are not allowed to play where they please.
If they really want change, players need to do that for themselves – but with actions, not words.
Rules covering player acquisition in the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL are collectively bargained, meaning the players unions sit with ownership to negotiate their respective labor agreements. If NBA players want to be able to choose where their contracts are assigned, that needs to be a want expressed during collective bargaining.
We live in a country where employees work hard and business owners reap massive rewards while tolerating significant risk for bankrolling an operation. There are athletes who resent the use of the word “owner” as a description of those who own franchises. It makes them feel like subordinates, which is accurate. They are subordinates – as are all employees.
This is not unique to professional athletes. It’s just that there aren’t a lot of Kevin Arnovitzes writing about the trampled rights and sadness in the insurance or pharmaceutical sales business. Everyone would like to own what they do and monetize it without paying another guy for owning it.
In collective bargaining, you have to give to get. Would players be willing to embrace a hard cap that is roughly half of what the current cap is in order to eliminate the draft, and allow players not yet in the union the right to select their first city of employment? Of course not.
So NBA players at the top of the food chain will have to wait seven years to earn the right to play wherever they like.
Small price to pay.