You probably know him best as that guy who fans want to see enter home games when the Knicks are up 20 something points, but Roger Mason Jr. is also the Player’s Association vice president. After making some downbeat comments regarding the upcoming lockout, Mason’s now in the news for much more than anything basketball related.
This from ESPN:
Mason pointed to two major disagreements that the players’ union has with the owners’ recent proposal: The owners’ desire for a hard salary cap and their proposed split of the league’s basketball-related income between owners and players.
“We’ve got to understand we’re going to have to take some skin of the game, just because the forecast in America right now is not great,” Mason said. “We understand the landscape has changed since the last deal, so we’re willing to make concessions, but I think what the owners are asking right now is just way too much, and it’s above and beyond [the money] they’re losing.
Maybe it’s just my naive nature, but I never tend to stress about labor disputes when it comes to professional sports; things always have a way of working themselves out. However, once these fantastic Finals end, those comments by Mason will begin to look very, very scary. Unlike the NFL, which recently made an estimated 4.3 gazillion dollars, what the NBA most seeks through its labor negotiations is parity. The owners aren’t so much greedy as they’d just like to protect themselves from themselves: No more ridiculous Gilbert Arenas-like contracts allowed.
Their issue with parity makes sense. The more unpredictable the sporting event the more interest it attracts. The league was great this season in that nobody knew what was going to happen; Memphis defeated San Antonio and it wasn’t considered a shocking upset. All that giving Travis Outlaw a monster contract does is tie down a team’s salary cap, alienate a fan base, and water down competitive play. Nobody wants that to happen except Travis Outlaw.
Hopefully Roger Mason proves to be as prophetic as he is capable of defending on the perimeter.