Monday, November 28, 2011

The NBA Returns, The Owners Win the Big One, and Self Loathing is All the Rage

The NBA has returned, well is going to return sometime, hopefully by Christmas Day. David Stern and the owners have wrung the players out to dry. It is has been an ugly affair, like all labor disputes are, but this one has been particularly odorous.

According to The Oklahoman, OKC's daily paper, an unscientific and random poll shows locals side with management. These published results are hardly a surprise given the daily paper's long and dreadful history of anti-labor propaganda. Management of the Oklahoman has considered organized labor a communist endeavor for over one hundred years. Under the previous ownership it was routine for them to send their own employees, for a fee of course, to other publishers who were battling unions in order to keep their presses working. Oklahoma Publishing's scabs for hire policy has justifiably made them an anathema with organized workers all across the land.

OPUBCO's treatment of its own employees is one of abject exploitation, arrogance and intimidation. In three separate talks with three different OPUBCO shop employees the uncoached conclusion reached by all of them was that if someone was stupid enough to try to organize a union there, that person would end up face down in ditch somewhere southwest of Hollis. No, the OPUBCO Sultans don't take kindly to workers trying to better themselves or their work conditions through legal means.

Which of course brings us back to the NBA. Apparently, at least some of the conservative fan base of the OKC Thunder, blame the players for the work stoppage. Terms like greedy millionaires and spoiled babies are being bandied about.

As always, conservatives never let a few facts get in the way of their hysterics.

This labor dispute was NOT a strike. It was a lockout. The players were not asking for more. They were just fighting to keep what the owners had given to them years ago. The entire tiresome negotiating process wasn't about Kevin Durant getting more money and benefits, it was about him keeping the money and benefits found within the contract signed by Clay Bennett and his top flight advisers.

You have to really be incompetent to lose money with a NBA franchise. Your product has to be abysmal and your management team has to have the collective sports IQ of the people in the office fantasy league. It isn't the players fault that some of owners can't run a taco stand, much less a pro sports franchise.

If we're going to point fingers here it should be at the owners who several years ago made promises they couldn't, or wouldn't keep and now want to re neg on the whole collective bargaining agreement.

Of course that argument won't phase the lower income conservatives. Long ago they bought into the argument that they are only worth what their bosses say they are worth and they should be damn glad they get that. Self loathing is part of that psyche and there is no changing it. The old, "What makes you so special?" mentality is insurmountable.

OPUBCO's ceaseless barrage of right wing fol de rol has worked wonders convincing anyone who makes an hourly wage that they have no value. And, more importantly, that anyone else who thinks they do, is part of some sort of fearsome, traitorous cabal.

It is reminiscent of the callous line used in the movie, "Gangs of New York." A well to do satrap looks over the rim of his brandy glass and says, "All we need to do is pay half the poor to kill the other half."

People like the ones running the NBA and OPUBCO love to depict those who criticise them as waging class warfare. In reality the critics are just pointing out that they are.

Next time you spend the weekend at home, take a vacation, work an eight hour day, or go on medical leave think about who got you these things. It certainly wasn't management. And don't think for a minute management wouldn't take all those things away from you if they could.

Kevin Durant isn't the team in OKC. Clay Bennett and his partners are the team. To them, Kevin Durant is nothing more than a jock strap and a jersey. He is, in the scheme of things, simply part of the cost of doing business. If he can be had for less, all the better.


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