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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

NBA needs to fix its labor disputes

It’s that time of the year; baseball is coming to an end and winter sports are on the horizon. The NHL has started and the NFL is in full swing, but the NBA is stalling in labor negotiations.

The lockout started on July 1, and has been keeping fans in suspense all offseason. For the sake of the league, fan base and the jobs at stake, NBA owners and players need to roll off their millions and come up with a deal.

At first, the possibility of a lockout seemed like more of a threat than a reality. I figured the lockout would end as soon as the league and players both got what they wanted.

It was hard for me to fathom grown, millionaire men fighting over pocket change. But as summer rolled on, more players continued to flirt with the idea of playing overseas, including some of the league’s biggest stars and lesser known bench players.

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I figured these players were just attempting to get some leverage on NBA commissioner David Stern and the owners, but then many players started signing contracts that wouldn’t let them opt out even if the lockout was lifted. This means that these players have to finish the season overseas, regardless if the lockout ends.

The main cause of the lockout is a disagreement over how money is being divided. Owners want to introduce a hard salary cap at $62 million (much like the NFL and NHL) and players want to keep the soft-cap system, which allows teams to exceed the cap when re-signing their own players.

A hard salary cap would make it so teams can’t exceed that spending range, which would also alter the length of guaranteed contracts.

Players currently can sign six-year guaranteed deals if they remain with their team and five-year if they go elsewhere.

Owners would prefer to make the max deal five years to re-sign with a team, and three years to find a new home. Along with altering their contracts, owners want a 50-50 split of the loot the league generates. Players currently have a 57-43 split and would like that to continue five more seasons.

What most players and owners fail to recognize, or care about for that matter, is the loss of jobs for NBA employees. Within the first two weeks of the lockout, the Detroit Pistons fired 15 people from their staff and the Charlotte Bobcats fired their play-by-play announcer –– not to mention the thousands of arena workers who count on a full season to provide a paycheck.

NBA veteran and current Oklahoma City Thunder center Nazr Mohammed summed it up best, when he tweeted his concerns earlier this summer.

“These people have families and bills too. It’s not just about the athletes. The only loyal people in sports are the fans for the most part,” Mohammed said.

Maybe the loyalty we have as fans is part of the problem. We’ve made this lifestyle possible for athletes by purchasing their shoes, jerseys, tickets and memorabilia.

By placing athletes on such a high pedestal, we have boosted their egos to the point where they think they deserve multi-million dollar deals and are willing to sit out otherwise.

As a fan of the NBA, I hope they can hammer out a deal and salvage the season, or at least have a shortened season as they did with the lockout in 1998-1999.

I know most of the players will be able to find work elsewhere, but for the fans sake, it won’t quite be the same watching Dwight Howard dunk on someone in the Chinese Basketball Association; or watching Kobe Bryant hit a game-winner in the Italian league.

This whole chess match reminds me of the Snickers commercials with Betty White and Aretha Franklin. I think for the sake of the league, the players and owners need to eat a candy bar and stop acting like divas.

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