I'm a little late on this one- it came to my attention about a week and a half ago, thanks to official Friend of the Blog Zoe (not to be confused with official Cat of the Blog Zoey). Something stuck in my craw about it, but I couldn't determine what.
Anyway, Jeff Schultz at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution took the NBA's temperature at just about the mid point of this abbreviated season, and found the results troubling. I can't disagree, although I'd prefer some hard numbers on whether or not this season has seen more injuries than previous ones (We here at CWS demand DATA, dammit!). Subjectively, I feel like I agree, and I think that's bad for the NBA, because I'm clearly losing interest every night Derrick Rose doesn't dress. But I don't really know if there's more injuries, or if it just SEEMS like there's more because the player I'm most interested in has been in and out.
On a more solid note, we have this, which Schultz is correct about:
"This isn’t all Stern’s fault. Yes, he saw dollar signs, as did the owners, in mandating a 66-game schedule when 50 would’ve been safer. But the players’ union signed off on this deal. They wanted the revenue, too."
Now, I can't abide by the players' risking their long-term health and careers for some short-term cash (or, more accurately, risking OTHER PLAYERS' long-term health and careers). But I feel like we're being a little hypocritical here. EVERYONE wanted this season to be played- the owners, the players, the fans, everyone. It wasn't just about revenue for all of those actors- the fans weren't gonna see a dime, obviously. Everyone was willing to give a little to make it happen, too, and the players ended up being willing to give a lot more, but we've been over this, that's their livelihood.
Moreover, we spend so much time in sports PRAISING players for putting their bodies on the line for the game. "Leaving it all on the field." "Being willing to bang bodies." The last scene of Major League, where Tom Berenger ruins his knees for the Pennant. It seems weird to now chastise players for risking their bodies just to play at all (especially because just playing at all IS a risk to the body).
But mostly, I'm just leery of any sort of "We must protect the players from themselves!" sentiment. I know, I know- these guys aren't medical professionals, they don't really know what their bodies can take. But they certainly have access to doctors, and I think if they want to take that risk, we kinda gotta let 'em. I mean, clearly we had to this time, or we just weren't going to get the NBA for a year.
Again, I'll call out their greed for what it is. But they were also willing to take a risk to make sure a game we all wanted to see was played. And as such, I think I'd just rather enjoy the game.