"When you're in professional sports sometimes, you get the impression that more people care than (they) really do...And you better be careful, because there are other things people can do with their income. ... Right now, I don't hear anyone talking about the NBA at all, except for the diehards."
-Jeff Van Gundy
Does the man have the pulse of the fans? I think so. And as a writer for a pretty popular Phoenix Suns blog, I can tell you, most of us don't care about the meager results of lockout negotiations. While David Stern uttered his typical threats of the apocalypse, a poll of we Brightsiders believed that those words of foreboding meant very little. So here is what he said of the weekend negotiations:
"We're not near anything, but we're closer than we were before."
Said "Carrot Top" Bonner, part of the executive committee of the NBAPA and still of the Spurs:
[there were] "some closing of gaps, but remember how large gaps were to begin with."
There's your update. For details, check this out.
But back to you and I and every other NBA fan...
The numbers are as clear as the comments on this site. Most of us don't care about the details and blah blah blah back and forth. We want basketball. We want trades and and free agent signings and a quality squad to go crazy for. And we don't care about soft and hard caps right now.
The lockout is about millionaires and billionaires fighting over their money, which in the end, is our money. We love the game and some of the players, but let's be honest here, we cannot relate to either side-most of us middle class people who are barely holding on to our jobs and paying our bills. This fight has little to do with us in reality.
Nevertheless, we are the ones who suffer, as are the arena workers and popcorn stand vendors and the Suns dancers and those guys and gals that toss T-shirts up to us when we eventually get to a game or two. Bitter? We have every right to be.
Do you get pissed when certain politicians yield to the upper 1% of Americans and cut them tax breaks?
To the point, we cover the lockout because it is our job as blogging journalists. Anything but total coverage is slighting our audience. But another rich guy, Van Gundy, spoke words that ring true: we are sports fans, and we have options. Your favorite NFL squad still has a chance to make the playoffs, and we Arizonans have a squad to root for in the MLB postseason. Sure there will be a void if the NBA doesn't get it's act together, but guess what, they're slitting their own throats with the continued squabbling. Most of us will come back when it ends, be it two weeks or 20, yet some of us won't.
But just maybe the worst thing for Stern and Silver and Sarver and the players could be those die hards-season ticket holders and jersey purchasers and game watchers on TV may just decide to go casual. Read books, watch a movie, spend time with our family, and miss a game or 4 or 5 when this derangement ends.
Maybe apathy is worse than anger.