Sports fans want to watch sports. They don’t want to hear about fights over whether sports will happen.
But sometimes fans need to try to understand what’s happening, especially since the issues that baseball currently is confronting eventually could arise in football. And the issues that baseball currently is confronting are fairly simple.
Superagent Scott Boras explained the situation in a Thursday appearance on WFAN. As Boras explains it, the owners and players already have reached a deal for prorated pay based on games actually played. The owners are now trying to redo that deal in a way that splits 2020 revenues, which will be reduced by the absence of fans, on a 50-50 basis between teams and players.
“[I]f you alter the foundation the integrity would be compromised and that’s what players would object to,” Boras said.
In other words, there’s a deal in place. And if the players wanted to undo a deal that already was done, the owners would be saying, “Tough crap.”
Regardless of whether baseball’s teams and players had a deal that the owners are now trying to change, there’s a different issue at play here, one that is far more complicated and nuanced that meets the eye when suggesting that the owners and players should simply break the 2020 cookie in half and share it.
This approach ignores the extent to which past cookies were shared, when the cookie was much larger. It also ignores that the teams own the bakery, and that bakery continues to increase in value — with the players holding no equity.
Said Boras: “You don’t privatize the gains and socialize the losses.” It’s really that simple.
Baseball’s owners want to seize on unprecedented circumstances to subsidize the short-term losses by spreading them evenly to the players, while ignoring that, over the long haul, the owners are well ahead of the game, both as to annual profits and as to the value of the asset they own.
It’s an important point, because the NFL could try to do the same thing, whether by slicing player salaries or shrinking the salary cap or otherwise foisting short-term losses onto players, hopeful that the pied-piper media charlatans, many of whom don’t believe what they’re saying and are simply pandering and/or acting in their own self interests, will characterize players as greedy and unreasonable when players take a stand based on their rights, without ever pointing to the owners and saying, “Hey, you’ve made billions over the years, and you’re worth billions. Why should the players equally share in unexpected short-term losses, when the contract you’ve signed doesn’t require them to?”