With the two sides in the NBA lockout making last-minute efforts to end the lockout and prevent the cancellation of regular season games, NBA players went on Twitter to spread their message:
“LET US PLAY #StandUnited,” tweeted Derek Fisher, NBAPU rep.
Fisher had sent a letter to the players informing them of his plans to tweet the message and encouraged them to retweet in order to show unity and remind fans that it was a lockout and not a strike.
“#arewereallyrelyingonhashtagnegotiations,” tweeted Brian Cardinal, Dallas Mavericks. “Took some heat on a previous tweet When the lockout ends today we will know one thing! we should have tweeted earlier in the negotiations!”
The ‘LET US PLAY’ phrase was used by the NFL players during their lockout, but they were much more successful in drumming up support from the fans on Twitter. The NBA players were able to get the phrase briefly trending globally in afternoon, but they were not getting anywhere near the support the NFL players. Trending topics on the NBA lockout have been a rarity in the last couple of weeks while they were a common occurrence during the NFL lockout.
“I just wanna apologize to all the fans for this lockout. Trust me, I feel y’all pain. This sh_t sucks,” tweeted Carmelo Anthony. “Last thing. It bothers me to hear people talk about things they know nothing about!!!”
So why does Twitter and casual NBA fan not care?
Many fans perceive this lockout as millionaires fighting with other millionaires/billionaires over money. The one issue that seems to be holding everything up, or is getting the most media attention, is how to split basketball-related income between the two sides. While in the NFL lockout there was that perception too but there were other issues where fans could side with the players i.e. health care benefits that a player received after his playing career. It’s easier for a fan to sympathize with players on this issue when it has been widely reported that players have shorter life expectancies and often lives filled with pain and health complications following football. There is no sympathy for NBA players and owners as they try to split up billions of dollars.
When the NFL cancelled its annual Hall of Fame game in the summer, NFL fans freaked out and put increasing pressure on both sides to get a deal done. NBA cancelled its pre-season games and no one batted an eye. The perception that many casual fans have is that the NBA season is too long already. Knocking off two weeks of regular season games would result in a more competitive season where games mattered a little bit more and players were fresher throughout the season. How many times have you heard someone say they only watch NBA when the playoffs start? If an NBA team won the championship and went to Game 7 in each of their playoff series, they would have played 110 games. That would be the equivalent of three college seasons in one NBA season. That’s just crazy.
This is probably the biggest reason why casual fans just aren’t interested. NFL lockout was going on during the dog days of summer when there was very little to talk about. Right now there have been compelling storylines in the MLB playoffs, college and NFL football are getting into full gear and the NHL just started their season.
Now it is being reported that Stern could call for a ‘postponement’ of the first two weeks of the season and not a cancellation.
Does anyone care?