I I posted my very first article last year entitled “Summer of Bummers” as I featured a summer full of scandals that were rampant this time last year. If you can remember way back when to 2010, we had the “luxury” of witnessing the annual Brett Favre watch, Lebron-a-thon, Albert Haynesworth’s fall from grace in DC, Ben Roethlisberger’s late night romp, and Tiger was still recovering from his own scandal from which he has seemingly never has fully recovered. To avoid confusion, I decided to call this issue, “Bummer of a Summer”. To be sure, this summer has seen it’s own share of scandals as well: as we have Frank McCourt running the once proud Los Angeles Dodgers organization into the ground; College Football is in shambles from its own self inflicted wounds; and Alberto Contador is looking to win his 4th tour de France with the biggest cloud of suspicion (yeah I watch a little cycling, don’t judge me) hovering over him. But worse than all of the scandals, are the crazy NBA and NFL lockouts, which make for a different set of circumstances of which most sport fans aren’t accustomed. The summer months of sports are usually dull in my humble opinion. Baseball, Tennis, and Golf just doesn’t stir up the same type of emotions for me as Football and Basketball. As bad as the summer of 2010 was, at least it was entertaining and we knew we could look forward to seeing Football and Basketball in the Fall.
As a matter of fact, looking back at last year’s summer to the summer of 2011 it makes one long for Big Al coming to camp overweight and uninspired in Washington, the annual Brett Favre watch, and even that stupid decision fracas Lebron and co put together. It at least gave us something to talk about until the season started. The NFL and now the NBA are in full-blown lockout mode and both have put their respective upcoming seasons in jeopardy. This is unprecedented as the two of top sports leagues in our country will be taking a hiatus for an unforeseen amount of time. On some levels I can definitely understand the owners of the NBA locking out their players. A report from SI.com stated that 22 of the leagues 30 teams are operating in the negative. The players’ salaries are bloated and the current model of the NBA is broken, there is just no way around it. But no one made the owners pay guys like Rahsard Lewis and Gilbert Arenas over 100 million dollars in the first place. The NFL’s situation is different as the owners and the players can’t figure out how split 9 billion dollars worth of revenue among the two parties. The NFL system is not broken but neither side seems to want to concede any type of concessions that could possibly push the sides closer.
As it is now, neither situation makes us fans happy. We want the business side of things to work themselves out so we can see our sports heroes do what they do best. We expect for Roger Goddell, David Stern, DeMaurice Smith, Billy Hunter and all of the lawyers involved to find a way to get deals in place, because quite frankly it’s their job to do so. The dialogue from both leagues is what scares me as a fan the most. You have Charles Barkley saying that the current labor situation in the NBA could possibly swallow up the entire year and Kevin Durant saying that the players are ready to go all the way until some concessions are made on the side of the owners. In other words, this one is going to be a dogfight just like the NFL’s and maybe even worse. The NFL has had its share of tough talk as players as prominent as Adrian Peterson have stuck their own foots in their mouths. DeMaruice Smith has made some statements that have made me think that this labor thing may never end.
The lockouts will destroy all the positive momentum both leagues had going for them. The NBA just had its best ratings since “His Airness” Michael Jordan roamed the court in 1998 (how awkward is it that he is now on the owners’ side of things instead of the players). Lebron’s decision last year, whether you liked it or not, has brought about a ratings boom for the league as it gave fans a team to hate and despise in Miami. The NFL just had one its flagship franchises in Green Bay win the Super Bowl. It’s the number one sport in America and still hasn’t reached its ceiling. Most fans understand that the owners and players will always have a certain level of distrust with one another. That is just the nature of these types of relationships. But to possibly take away an entire season from the fans in the name of greed for both sides is definitely a turn off to us fans. Real fans support their teams no matter what, when it comes to the product on the field or the hardwood. I am a Dallas Cowboys fan and last year, as everyone knows, was possibly the most painful season I have endured. But I still brought my Cowboy gear, watched the games, and if I could have given my right arm I would have just to travel to Jerry’s world in Dallas to watch and cover a game. I’m sure those who are reading this did mostly the same during the course of the NFL season. So when the league decides that it’s best for them to cancel everything until further notice it just doesn’t sit well with us. What would they do if we all decided to strike and refused to buy tickets and fill the stadiums?
This year’s “Bummer of a Summer” has taking on an entire different meaning from last years. The bummer is that two of top sports league’s in the world that feature some of the greatest athletes that have ever been produced, can’t come to an agreement, so that everyone in sports world can get on with their sports lives as usual. Writers and bloggers won’t have anything to write about, reporters won’t have anything to report about and fans won’t have anything to cheer about. And there is nothing that any of us can do about this but watch and wait. This summer has definitely become the the mother of all sports bummers.