Jim Rome compares, laments league work stoppages


Last night, radio and television host Jim Rome lamented the fact that, following the NFL’s recently resolved labor conflicts, the “NBA is running the same playbook.” I understand that, for people like Rome, whose livelihood depends on there being actual NFL and NBA seasons for them to talk and twit about, even the specter of a season cancelled is a valid reason to fret. But for those of us with a little more distance from the sport, the NFL’s off-season negotiations were just that– off-season negotiations. Sure, Tennessee’s Bud Adams had to formally hang onto Vince Young a few months longer than he wanted, but nobody else was making moves either, and VY landed in what now may be the illest of delphs with no more skin of the Titans’ backs, and the season will start on time, this compressed free-agency period is more exciting than infrequent summer updates (“Sportscenter’s top story for June 21, third-string DT to K.C.”), and most of the players held training camps on their own despite their complaints in the negotiations about having to do off-season training camps (and there’s no need to flood the comments about cancelling the Hall of Fame Game). I’m not saying we ought to do this every year, but I am saying that if you tune back into the NFL when it’s supposed to be getting underway again, things look pretty normal.

This isn’t to say that the NBA, because it’s “running the same playbook,” also will pull out of its apparent nose dive in time for the next season to start on schedule. It is to say, though, that it had better. Last season was an uptick in popularity for a league that had been declining in popularity seemingly for the past decade. A lost season in 2011-2012 would be worse for the NBA than the similar situation was for the NHL, a league that was on the rise at the time. David Stern, the players, and the owners have at least enough sense to avoid the catastrophic here, and I expect they won’t miss a single game. I understand why people like Rome worry about these things while they remain unresolved, but for the rest of us, just go ahead and tune back in for the start of the regular season as usual, and rest assured you will not have to choose between watching college basketball and watching college basketball’s orangest coach up the NBA D-League.

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