CNN Poll Shows General Public Blames Players Over Owners by Wide Margin

Published: November 17, 2011

Yesterday’s poll on asked readers to assign blame for the NBA lockout, and by an overwhelming margin CNN viewers (who I imagine are fairly representative of the average person) chose both. When I last checked the poll, 24,460 votes had been cast. 5459 (22%) went with the players. Exactly 3000 (12%) chose just the owners, meaning that by a nearly 2-to-1 margin people are choosing owners over players.

This is hardly the first time it’s appeared that the Owners are winning the PR war. For quite awhile the Hornets247 poll has asked our readers who they blame, and our results have pointed toward Hornets fans feeling the same way. 60 percent of readers who participated went with the players as being more responsible.

Recently I was in Arizona visiting family, and even they were outspoken about the players as being responsible. The odd thing? Most of them don’t follow basketball. My nine year old nephew was the lone exception. He’s a beast and will likely be running the world one day, but that’s besides the point. He actually does follow basketball (damn Lakers fan) and had no qualms about pointing the finger right at the Players. Whenever I closed my eyes during his explanation I thought I was listening to David Stern on the BS Report. I was both impressed and concerned at the same time.

At this point I won’t even pretend to have any idea how this will actually play out if the parties don’t finish these negotiations off soon, but let’s just say that it’s a good thing the court won’t be swayed by public opinion. If so, this beat down would likely be a slaughter.

The odd thing is that looking at this purely from a PR standpoint it would seem like the Players had the easier path toward getting public opinion on their side. They made the concessions. They are the ones people actually want to see. Maybe I’m just overlooking the obvious, but I can’t help but think they need someone new directing PR on their side.

Maybe Stern could recommend someone?


  1. Jason Calmes

    November 17, 2011 at 10:32 am

    If one takes the poll as a true measure of thoughtful analysis carried out by the public, then most of them place the blame across the board or are saying “I don’t know”.

    If one takes the poll as a bad measure of thoughtful analysis carried out by the public, then most of them place the blame across the board or are saying “I don’t know”.

    If one takes the poll to be a way to express your hopes about an outcome or to vent your frustrations, then most of them place the blame across the board or are saying “I don’t know”.

    Remember when they got the ransom note in “Who’s Harry Crumb?”

    “We find that crazy typrewriter, we’ll find our kidnapper.”

    I have just one question: Who spent the money?

    If we find those checkstubs, then we find the seasonkiller.

    Simple as that.

    • Joe Gerrity

      November 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Simply remarking on the PR battle. While most people are saying “I don’t know”, those that are saying “I do know” are pointing their fingers at the owners far more often than the players.

      • Jason Calmes

        November 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

        As someone who has graded tests, I can tell you that when many people say I know, they mean I hope, or I think, or I wish, or something other than I know.

        Polls and questionaires are not garbage, but the data is often not what it is presented to be. If you ask about the same `thing’ a few different ways, you get different answers. People often don’t look at polls as an object mensuration device, but rather as a tool to be used, and the purpose changes as the poll progresses.

        It’s really quite fascinating if it can be tolerated.

        There’s a reason gallup etc. get paid the bucks for doing their 1,000 people polls.

        I also don’t see how the PR batter factors in. When people get upset there’s less money to split later. Right now the owners are losing money now. They need to fix that problem, then worry about the later money problems. It’ll be a bigger wind than a squirrel’s fart, but the NBA will be closer to a viable business when this is over than when it started, and that is more important to those involved than being called names or being thought greedy. It’s better to be rich and thought greedy than poor and thought greedy (and stupid).

  2. da ThRONe

    November 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

    That’s because most people can see the players, and they see the players as waste and ungrateful. For most fans (especially casual fans) the owners are faceless. Easy to hate the devil you know.

  3. random nba fan

    November 17, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Exactly da ThRONe. Fans know and see the players and have no idea who any of these owners are. The owners are completely faceless to the fans.

    It is always much easier to place the blame on someone who you can see and are familiar than on someone who you know absolutely nothing about and rarely if ever see.

  4. paul

    November 17, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I think there are very complicated reasons…other than the obvious one, they see greedy men doing sport for WAY too much money and now wanting even more.
    However, they will say this about any entertainer if asked.

    There is the envy of those who don’t with those that do. Hell, today we are all being told to be angry at those who have more…and vote to take it away from them and pass it around! And as da ThRONe says above…the players are seen as rich, the owners are hardly seen at all.

    Next, there are a few here who do not like black men making so much AND then trying to control the game. I know this sounds awful, but there is a deep ill feeling for blacks still today. It will never end any more than any deep rooted need for a person to hate another because of some self-doubt or weakness. The need to hate others is never ending. I still get asshole remarks from people as if I am supposed to understand their narrow-mindedness. I always am stunned by how deep this still is embedded in so many. That fight will never end any more than remarks by men about women, or women about men. Catholics about …oh, whatever…just fill in the lines with any group. Never does a day go by when some very well educated guy says something so awful and painful I want to smack them.
    And the NBA is seen as a black league. Just look at all photo ops from the negotiations. It looks like black players vs white owners.
    However awful it sounds…there are a great many who harbor nasty thoughts on this.

    And still there is the bad feeling gotten from the message the union broadcast with its demands.
    Look, it is NOT complicated for the average American to hear that players want more than 50 percent of the cut and then get angry about it. The American average Joe has never felt that the hired help run the house.
    They simply do not think the players should take more than the owners.

    We may go to Sea World to see the whales, or the zoo to see animals from around the world…they are the stars…but they should NOT get the largest cut of the ticket take.

    This is how Americans feel. Simple.

  5. Monty'sDoghouse

    November 19, 2011 at 12:40 am

    1) Most of the national sportswriters are pointing to the fact that the owners have the leverage and the players seem to be fighting for the upper tier instead of the whole. When Stephen A. Smith is bashing the players, you know they’re in a tough spot.

    2) Big Baby, Kevin Martin, and others are coming out voicing their displeasure with how the whole situation is handled.

    3) The players have done a terrible job at making their points to the general public and pointing the finger back at the owners, simply saying “it’s not good enough” over and over.

    4) “Superteams” don’t sound fun to anybody that’s not LA/Miami/New York.

    5) Lebron James is on team player.

    6) Michael Jordan is on team owner.

    7) The NBA players have proven time and again that they are easily the most polarizing personalities of any sport to whites due to their general arrogance and celebrity-esque attitudes.

    8) 50/50 is better than 48/52 that the NFL players took.

    9) Economy sucks and players seem to think that they don’t have to suffer like the general population.

    10) There are legitimate gripes about owners losing money, especially when you hear ex-GM’s from teams like Portland claiming that a break-even season was a success.

    11) We’re losing a season over a couple B-grade issues.

    12) Lebron James is on team player.

  6. sundance

    November 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Sorry but I don’t get public sentiment. Why should I side with the owners? How is this any different from the Occupy movement? People are upset with government bailing out businesses, but it’s OK for NBA owners to demand that players make up for their losses? How about if they try and think for once before giving out bad contracts to players who don’t deserve them? I’m fairly sure if owners win on the BRI issue, that money is going straight to owners’ pockets not to reducing ticket prices.

    The public hates the players because they’re millionaires, but not the owners who happen to be billionaires because they take a risk in owning a professional sports team. That’s such a laugh. These owners have the biggest fucking egos around, why do you suppose they take that risk? Believe me, it’s not just for profit. They’ll willingly chance losing money if need be. But they’ll stick it up the players or fans’ collective asses if given the opportunity, without hesitation.

    • paul

      November 20, 2011 at 6:54 am

      um…seems very hard to even force an attempt to understand your mind’s logical path. I will make an attempt to directly explain the issue further down, but first some thoughts….

      Wall street isn’t even a public outcry. It is a small, extremely small group of angry people shooting at what they perceive as causes for their issues. And wrong as they may be, it still doesn’t come close to THIS battle.

      Owners have ownership…players do not. Animals in zoos attract customers, but do not command ticket gross. Actors in plays and movies all are attractions and reasons the public buys tickets, yet do not get an official union contracted percentage of sales.

      Owners agreed to an earlier union agreement and they see that within their own group an attempt to play it to advantages at the harm of the entire league. So they want to change it. And they this time have a majority of owners onboard.
      It is completely different.
      Owners are not asking for players to make up for losses. They are going to make an attempt at future losses being controlled. They are trying to come to the aid of the entire league, large and small teams. They saw successful manipulations of the old agreement by both large market teams AND big time players along with agents. They saw this as a direct hit at the health of the entire league, mostly the health of small markets.
      UNLIKE the players…the owners MUST act for the health of the entire NBA.

      They needed to address this new found loophole madness.

      Here is the funny part, however. Players are not really acting in the way a union should. Most unions work to make the membership larger. In this case, the player’s union is working to make sure its most powerful and popular layers have their cake while not worrying if the league compresses to smaller numbers…this resulting in the loss of jobs and membership.
      How many tweets have you read by players telling owners of small markets IF they cannot make money, sell the team? How many people want to buy a team with a losing number in a small market in a league that promotes large market teams?
      No…the team will eventually be cut from the herd and the NBA gets smaller. Many suggestions for a smaller NBA have been floated.
      You got any money and want to buy one?????

      Really a strange goal, if you ask me.

      • paul

        November 20, 2011 at 6:59 am

        even auto labor agreements today have sections forcing manufacturers NOT to cut jobs. No, rather they agree that plants be opened and MORE jobs be saved or guaranteed for years to come.
        Not so here. Nowhere in any NBA contract is there such a thing. Nothing about saving New Orleans or Memphis or OHK!
        That is because THIS union does NOT care about jobs.
        It is being controlled by Lawyers (agents) and they care little about the NBA or its player numbers.

      • sundance

        November 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm

        It sounds like what you’re saying is it’s OK to suppress worker satisfaction and that cutting pay or health costs is not an issue if it saves your business.

        I’m not a small business owner, but I think there are ways you can restructure your business and yes that includes perhaps reducing your workforce, and still stay competitive and attract and keep good personnel.

        For most people, they look for better job conditions and better pay. Isn’t that what a free market is all about? Jobs are created because there is a product that needs be made or a service that needs to be done. In the NBA’s case, you could say the owners have created the greatest stage possible for the players to show off their talents. I’d argue however is if you try to cut pay and restrict movement, when there are other owners out there who are willing to pay more, it just doesn’t seem right.

        I do think the owners will win the court battle just as they’ve won public support. I don’t want to see small market fans get lost in the shuffle either. There’s something special about New Orleans and it’s been fantastic how much the fans have supported the team. It seems idealism has created a dichotomy, I guess we can just hope that what’s best for the league also benefits the players and fans.

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