The National Basketball Association, and virtually all major professional sports leagues, have revealed themselves for exactly what they are — narcissistic entities whose main players on and off the court put their financial and health light years above that of their fans and the cities that subsidize them.
The fact NBA players are tested for COVID-19 every day in their Mickey Mouse bubble in Orlando with results returned in less than 24 hours while just a few miles away people who are lucky enough to get tests have to wait 10 days to get results in its self isn’t morally bankrupt. Millionaire players and billionaire owners have — and always will — superior access to health care.
What is morally bankrupt and ethically challenged is how sports’ clever way of getting government and politicians to sleep in the same bed with them has cleared the path for them to reopen in the midst of a national health emergency. Meanwhile the little guys such as barbershops and hair salons on the verge of economic ruin get a green light from state leadership to jerry-rig their operations so they can stay in business and operate outdoors and then another segment of the government bureaucracy clutching pre-pandemic regulations shuts them down again.
This is because virtually every city with a pro sports franchise has invested government money — or more correctly boatloads of tax dollars from the working poor and the rest of the community — to subsidize glitzy multi-billion-dollar sports arenas. Taxpayers have access as long as they fork over $100 per ticket, $30 for parking, and $8 for a soft drink.
The NBA’s access to daily express lane testing is dismissed as being inconsequential as it is only a couple hundred or so millionaires that lecture the rest of us on ethics and social causes while they’re not busy making $100,000 and higher per game.
But here’s the rub. The NBA processes in excess of 300 tests a day at a lab they have been doing business with while John Q. Public, if he can get tested promptly after thinking he has been exposed, has to wait 10 or so days for the results. Meanwhile he could be exposing countless others.
It is true that freeing up the testing capacity by operating at a somewhat lower level as Major League Baseball that only tests their millionaire prima donnas every two days may only free up testing capacity for a handful of common folks such as kids with vulnerable conditions and the elderly. They are still, a handful of people that aren’t getting tested or tests results processed promptly because of pro sports hogging access.
Do not play the “it’s not a big deal”, “it’s an ongoing and pre-pandemic business partnership”, “sports are vital for the national psyche”, of “it’s their money” cards. The last time we had a national emergency that the pandemic even somewhat resembles the impact on everyone’s lives was World War II. Everyone — including pro sports — made sacrifices to the point seasons weren’t played and pro athletes joined the front-line fight.
It is surreal when an NBA millionaire tweets to implore the rest of us to take COVID-19 seriously and to get tested or slams those pushing to reopen the economy so they can feed the families and keep roofs over their heads that cover living space that would fit into some NBA players’ walk-in closets.
Many would gladly get tested if test kits were available or if they were high enough on the priority list.
The NBA thanks to immorally but legally tying up a tiny segment of this nation’s limited testing capacity is doing its part to make it tougher to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
If they weren’t hogging daily capacity to process 300 or so tests of the same players over and over again how many people could be saved from getting COVID-19 or from become gravely ill or even dying if just 300 test results of the general public each day were processed faster?
It is true it is a minuscule amount of testing but in a pandemic finding out one person that is contagious quick enough and taking appropriate steps means hundreds if not thousands of people can be protected from acquiring the virus.
Then there is the NBA’s crime of complacency.
Just like other sports where players are manning the ramparts of social injustice with the marketing department of the leagues shamelessly plug into the sentiment, the NBA has green blood on its hands.
Shout “Defund the Police” all you want to divert millions of dollars into non-law enforcement government endeavors in a bid to invest in programs that get at the roots of violence and social injustice, but the NBA and other pro leagues are at the front of the line in getting government handouts.
That’s because of long-term financing packages for opulent palaces where owners and players alike get richer with each second that comes off a game clock put cities in hock for 30 plus years.
The pro sports teams they have whored the city’s resources to snare for prestige and ego stoking is justified by using economic payback models based on secondary economic activity that rarely ends up penciling out in reality. If they are lucky, sports teams won’t blackmail the city for an even better arena after 15 or so years or simply jump ship to a city willing to give them even more money.
Making it all the more ironic is the fact some pro sports including the Los Angeles Lakers got at the front of the line to get COVID-19 small business rescue funds. And while the Lakers did end up giving the money back on their own, it speaks volumes to the mindset of pro sports teams in this country and those that play for them.
More than a few franchises are asking for reduced or suspended arena lease payments given they are losing revenue from the impacts of COVID-19.
Keep track of those cities and see how many of them dig into taxpayers’ pockets to help cover the rents or leases of citizens who have lost income due to the pandemic.
Pro sports such as the NBA have fine-tuned their government leach model over the past 30 years. Players benefit just as much as sweet arena deals frees up money for franchise owners to shower on pro athletes’ salaries.
As the NBA gets ready to play in its protective bubble, taxpayers are left with empty arenas that are more often than not at the front of the line when it comes to municipal revenue in order to pay back the debt taken out to build the complexes.
It’s hard to tell which sphere-shaped item is destroying cities more effectively — the arenas where NBA basketballs bounce or the COVID-19 virus.