As I tweeted yesterday, I’m starting to get annoyed at how hard NBA owners and the Players Association seem to be working to manage their public image during the lockout, as opposed to how hard they appear to be working to come to some sort of agreement that will bring back basketball.
On the owners’ side, they took time to write and mass distribute a detailed letter rebutting various points made by New York Times writer Nate Silver in a blog post claiming that NBA owners are exaggerating their losses. News flash to owners: Most fans don’t care if you’re losing money or how much money you’re losing, if you are. We’re pretty sure you’re going to remain billionaires, regardless.
As for the players, most fans don’t have a hell of a lot of sympathy for their grievances. “They’re going to roll back my salary so I’ll only make $4 million a season instead of $5 million! WAAAAH!” I’m not saying both sides don’t have the right to stick to their guns, but if they think they’re going to make any strides towards ending this battle by engaging in wars of words in the media, they’re grossly mistaken. We don’t care about the details, we just want you to FIX IT!
The day after the lockout became official, the Players Association led off a statement on their website with this rhetoric: “NBA owners, looking to make Draconian cuts to players’ salaries and benefits, today locked out the league’s 450 players after their collective bargaining agreement expired at 12:01 a.m.”
“Draconian” is a word that seems to get used a lot considering how few people probably understand the actual origin of the word. It originated in Greece in 7th Century BC, where a “lawgiver” named Draco instituted a legal code known as The Draconian Constitution. These laws were revolutionary in some ways — such as the distinction between murder and involuntary homicide — but they are most notable historically for their extreme harshness. Take it away, Wikipedia!
For example, any debtor whose status was lower than that of his creditor was forced into slavery. The punishment was more lenient for those owing debt to a member of a lower class. The death penalty was the punishment for even minor offenses. Concerning the liberal use of the death penalty in the Draconic code, Plutarch states: “It is said that Drakon himself, when asked why he had fixed the punishment of death for most offenses, answered that he considered these lesser crimes to deserve it, and he had no greater punishment for more important ones.”
Yikes. Pardon my Greek, but this Draco dude seems like a historically monumental asshole. He makes David Stern look like Elmo in comparison. My point is that I could see where the players are coming from if they simply labelled the owners’ demands as unfair, but once you invoke a word that refers to an ancient legal code that included punishments of slavery and death for minor offenses, I can’t take anything you say seriously, anymore.
Note: Credit to Trey Kerby for the Photoshop work at the top of this post. He claims the quote is “Death, of course.” in Greek.