Lockouts and Broke Athletes
With the quartet of perfect storms brewing, many players are worried about from where their paychecks will come. Currently all four professional leagues are (or will soon be) in heated discussions over their respective Collective Bargaining Agreements, all set to expire in the near future.
The NHL CBA runs through the end of this season, with a NHLPA option to extend it for one year. That extension has been agreed to, but expect things to heat up next year. Though our ice-skating friends seem to always fly under the radar (Hockey IS still one of the 4 major US sports), they have a history mired in poor CBA discussions. If we remember back to when hockey was still relevant (pre-’04-05 lockout), the owners and players’ association never quite seem to see eye to eye. Also in recent history are the ’92 players’ strike and the ’94-95 lockout. If history serves as an indicator for the future, keep a lookout for some fireworks surroundings these discussions when they begin; likely sometime after the 2012 season.
The MLB is also currently in the beginning stages of planning for their discussions over the MLB CBA, which will expire December 11th, 2011, after the upcoming season. At this point in time, it looks like the MLB and MLBPA have the most promising outlook, with Commissioner Bud Selig stating the two sides are “on a constructive path.” Once talks actually start (likely before the regular season begins, according to MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner), we should get a better idea if the two sides are actually heading down the same path, but preliminary looks would say things have a positive view.
The NBA and NBPA just had their biggest weekend of discussions to date (NBA All-Star Weekend), sitting down for the first time formally since last November. The NBA CBA is set to expire June 30th of this year, but here, I’m optimistic. While the discussions were not a success this weekend, according to David Stern, Commissioner of the NBA, at least the two parties are currently talking. Which brings us to…
And then there’s the NFL. What once could have been seen as constructive discussion and progress in negotiations has now been marred in canceled meetings and a looming lockout, at least for some period of time. To get the train back on the tracks, in steps our government. The NFL and NFLPA are now participating in federally mediated sessions, just finishing the fourth straight day today. Only time will tell for these dicey negotiations.
So, with potential work stoppages, how will our dear athletes survive? You can imagine on many of their meager salaries, many have to live paycheck-to-paycheck (sarcasm). I don’t have a lot of sympathy for those complaining about going broke when they spend their money like this, this, or this. But if just a fraction of that was spent on a decent financial advisor or better yet, some common sense…
I think Aaron Curry is a good example of just a small dose of that common sense to which others can look. Signing a six-year $60 million contract with $34 million guaranteed, he is doing one important thing…saving.