At a time when the economy is suffering, the U.S. Conference of Mayors says the last thing cities need right now is for more people to be put out of work and small businesses that depend on games to lose revenue, because of the NBA lockout.
In a letter Thursday, the mayors asked the NBA owners and the players union “to consider the consequences ”of a prolonged lockout on local economies across the country.”
David Stern, the NBA commissioner, has already canceled the first two weeks of the season because the players and owners are still far apart in the labor dispute, which involves how team-related income is split. Some players have suggested the lockout could go on for a year or more.
“Much of the discussion about the current NBA labor situation has centered on the owners, players, and fans,” Indianapolis Mayor Gregory A. Ballard said in a statement. “However, the NBA lockout is also affecting the livelihood of restaurant owners, wait staff, parking attendants, and others in our cities and we believe their voices should be heard as well."
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer was careful to point out that the city executives are not taking sides in the ongoing negotiations.
The letter, he said, is about “speaking up for our cities, our residents, and our small businesses whose financial health is tied to the NBA season.”
The mayors said they understand the issues dividing the owners and players “are complex and need to be addressed to ensure the long-term, well-being of the league.”
But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player himself, said it was important that a compromise be found immediately “that puts fans back in the stands and the thousands who depend on the NBA back to work.”
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