Unlocking Labor Strife In Sport

By Brian P. Dunleavy
Oct. 4, 2012

The National Hockey League is in shutdown mode.

The National Football League has only recently emerged from what had been a disastrous dispute with the union representing its on-field officials.

The National Basketball Association is less than a year removed from a work stoppage that disrupted its 2011-2012 season, and Major League Baseball's on-field product continues to be tainted as a result of the toothless performance-enhancing drug policy it negotiated with its players' union during its last collective bargaining discussions.

Fans across North America have a lot to complain about. There have been a lot of missed games, and a lot of asterisks next to hallowed records.

But until you as fans actually take advantage of the leverage you have in disputes such as these, your whining privileges are revoked. Yes fans, it's time to put up or shut up.

It’s time to stop buying tickets.

It's time to turn off the TV and take the family to a movie—or, maybe, read something besides the sports section.

It's time to stop buying hats and shirts featuring your favorite team's logo.

And, it's time to stop getting into bidding wars over autographed memorabilia on e-bay.

In short, it's time to stop talking and start voting with your feet. You hold the power here. Those owners crying poor mouth? Those players begging for more? They’re arguing over money—your money. Think they'll stop talking amongst themselves and start listening to your concerns if that money goes away?

You bet your sweet customized jersey they will.

And fast, too.

But the moment you renew your season tickets or order the DirecTV package, you give them the leeway to bloviate, to take you, the fan, for granted, to play a big game of Monopoly—for that's what every so-called "major" sports league is in North America—with your hard-earned money.

They can't play in empty arenas, though, and they won't play if no one is watching. They need the money—again, your money—to survive.

So if you're unhappy with what's happened to your favorite sport, do something about it.

Don't just sit there—in your over-priced club seat. That "Personal Seat License" gives you the license to speak your mind.

Use it.


About the author: Brian P. Dunleavy is a writer who lives in New York.



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