The NBA Lockout Means The NBA Will No Longer Acknowledge Its Own Players’ Existence
A few days ago, the impending NBA lockout became all too real for fans of the league with the news that, in the event of a lockout, all pictures of current players on every nba.com site would be taken down. Well, now the lockout's here, and as depressingly promised, if you go to nba.com, the current league pretty much ceases to exist. Here's a look at what you'll get if you go to the league's official site at the time of this writing:
As for individual team pages, here's what we encountered upon visiting the site of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks:
While you're at it, check out the robust "Headlines" section on the sidebar of the Mavs' site. All of one story about the champs - and it's advertising team dancer auditions. "Graveyard of cheerleader and mascot photos," anyone? Oh, and try clicking a name on a team roster - see where that gets you. (Hint: not to the player page.)
For the record, the NBA said the complete lack of anything relating to current players on any official league isn't a matter of rights - it's just what they feel is "appropriate" in a lockout scenario. And as much as the whitewashing might serve the league's interests in a "LOOK HOW SERIOUS WE ARE ABOUT THIS LOCKOUT" way, we also would agree that yes, it's only appropriate.
Think of it this way: if the NBA were locking players out on the one hand, and using their images to try and draw attention to its (currently nonexistent) product on the other, how would that look? Hypocritical, for one thing. Check out the official site of the similarly-locked-out NFL, and remember the level of acrimony between the league and players.
It's absurd the NFL is using its players to sell its wildly successful self while also trying to tell us the world will end "if the players win." To its credit, the NBA seems to realize it's going up against its own players right now, and is willing to acknowledge it with its own actions, rather than trying to make the fans think everything's okay. Is it ruthless? Sure. But at least it's a consistent ruthlessness.
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