Monday, July 4, 2011

Players, Union executives should seek black ownership

NEW YORK - As you're probably aware, both the NBA and NFL are engaged in malicious lockouts. Meaning? The owners have banned players from team facilities until a new collective bargaining agreement has been reached.

So what's the impasse?

Players are demanding a bigger slice of the revenue pie. While owners remain adamant in their stance: "Screw you, I'm the boss. Either take this salary or leave it."

As of now, nobody's backing down.

“We’re going to stand up for what we have to do, no matter how long it’s going to take,” said All-Star Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. “No matter how long the lockout’s going to take, we’re going to stand up. We’re not going to give in.”

Nevertheless, as customary, blacks are once again fighting the wrong war as it pertains to socioeconomic progress.

Rather than bicker about a disproportionate allocation of ticket, apparel and television revenue, the player's union in both leagues should be busy building an historic case for black majority ownership.

Both unions are headed by African-Americans. Billy Hunter is the player executive in the NBA. DeMaurice Smith leads the NFL player's union.

As we celebrate our nation's independence, now's the perfect time to strike.

And the players have all the leverage.

For instance, if household marketing commodities such as Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade (along with union executive Hunter) were to approach NBA Commissioner David Stern and the owners with a Godfather-like proposal mandating an increase in black ownership within the next 10 years, who do you think would win?

This, in a nutshell, explains my angst with African-Americans. We simply refuse to abide by the merciless laws of capitalism.

“We’ll just continue to ask our fans to stick with us and remain patient with us. As players we want to play. That’s who we are; we’re basketball players,” Lakers guard and union president Derek Fisher said.

“Right now we’re faced with dealing with the business aspect of our game. We’re going to do it the same way we play basketball. We’re going to work hard. We’re going to be focused. We’re going to be dedicated to getting the results that we want.”

It pains me to say this. Really, it does. But, as blacks, we are currently the Kansas City Royals of society. Every year promises of progress are announced, yet the final statistics continue to show us bringing up the rear.

Check this out.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports blacks across the country are lagging way behind with a measly median household income of $34,445 while the earnings for Hispanic households has elevated to $40, 946.

Yes, it means we're firmly entrenched in last place.

Like the Royals, even when we develop a marquee talent, he or she usually shows gratitude by abandoning the hood for the Yankees or, in our case, a better neighborhood.

Who gives a damn if King James earns an extra million in annual salary through labor talks? Someone should tell his royal highness and fellow NBA brethren wealth exists exclusively through deed, title and ownership.

Conversely, riches can evaporate overnight.

If you don't believe me, ask M.C. Hammer.

Not convinced?

There's more.

According to, 78% of former NFL players and 60% of ex-NBA ballers are destitute after retirement. Hell, broke athletes are practically an epidemic in the U.S.

Look, there's obviously nothing wrong with raking in a multi-million dollar salary. In today's dire economic times, a paycheck's a paycheck.

However, to make progress, it's imperative we look past the 'Bling,' become more acclimated with the laws of capitalism, and start pursuing the intangible rights necessary to increase ownership in predominant black industries.

Wayne HodgesWayne Hodges, an MBA from St. Mary University, is the Editor-in-Chief of “Mass Appeal News.” He also serves as a contributing writer to, he’s a Democrat reporter for the Examiner, and he’s a film critic with Wayne welcomes your comments 24/7 at

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