Remember when the Bobcats and Pistons laid some people off and we thought that that was probably not a good sign of things to come? We were right. Very, very right.
Here’s the yikes-inducing news, courtesy of Howard Beck at the New York Times:
More than 100 N.B.A. employees were laid off this week, heightening the sense of economic distress as the league’s owners and players haggle over a new labor agreement.
All told, 114 positions — 11 percent of the league’s work force — were eliminated, primarily in New York and New Jersey, from nearly every division, including marketing, community relations, player programs, broadcasting and information technology. Most employees received the news Wednesday or Thursday.
Now, the NBA claims that these layoffs have nothing to do with the lockout, and that they are simply because the NBA is restructuring their business models so that they can be profitable. But isn’t that what the whole lockout is about? Restructuring things to be profitable? It sure seems like it, so it sure seems like these things are at least a little bit related.
And that’s bad, for everyone involved. Bad for the people who got laid off, obviously, but also bad for the owners and the players too. When 11 percent of the NBA’s workforce is laid off while those two groups are fighting over millions of dollars, that’s not a good look. There’s not a lot of sympathy for either contingent, and the elimination of more than 100 jobs is definitely not going to help their cause.
Even if they’re not related, but just intertwined as the league says, fans are still going to assume this is lockout-related, and that’s not a great way to follow one of the most successful seasons in league history. It’s like the league is trying to one-up themselves when it comes to bad ideas. This one’s tough to beat.