Nobody really cares about stadium workers

This is in response to multiple opinion postings, but per HS policy, none will be specifically cited…
Sympathy for the plighted is a good thing, and there isn’t enough of it in this country. So why am I criticizing the “Let’s focus on locked out stadium workers” trope? What could possibly be wrong with pointing out that, in a battle between wealthy factions, working stiffs are collateral damage?

To those who really do feel deep sympathy for stadium workers, I apologize. It’s not that I think you, personally, are lying–I just don’t believe you in the aggregate. Though many writers are waxing aggrieved about the thousands of lockout-pinched blue collars, I see no movement to reimburse the impacted. Where is the charity, the fund, hell, the Facebook group? If such a groundswell of actual deep feeling existed, then so too would a response. For all the concern regarding “actual” lockout victims, fingers are only lifted in the wringing of hands.

To writers, the stadium employees are symbols. They are salt of the earth, striving, dragging regular-guy concerns and needs. They are what is “good.” They are what is “real.” These proletariat stand-ins stand in contrast to squabbling millionaire bastards who deign break the seal on a season we crave. Because of this, the screwed workers are a convenient cudgel against two sides whom we would wish into any damned CBA, so long as it’s done and done quickly.

Billionaires, millionaires, accept concessions! Not for me, but for those who work concessions!

When lobbying for basketball’s hasty return, “Think of the children!” logic just sounds weightier than, “I like when ball goes through hoop.”

Or perhaps, the stadium worker symbolizes the plight-highlighting writer. Though I tend to hoop blog from a platinum-embossed swivel chair that connects to a peasant-bone ivory desk, there are many scribes who struggle financially. Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot of money in talking about why the ball did or did not go through the hoop. Sadder, there will certainly be less money in the absence of a season. So, when a basketball scribe casts a deep frown in the direction of empty pretzel stands, I often wonder if he’s simply looking in the mirror…and seeing a future poor person.

It is impolitic for that writer to post, “Forget the pretzel guy, I’m so screwed if there’s no NBA!” It doesn’t help that most fans reflexively hate the sportswriting class (I believe public opinion has swung against everyone except Joe Posnanski). By lamenting the struggle of underemployed concessioneers, the writer can cathartically vent while disguised as someone the readers can side with.

So if writers get socially acceptable catharsis, and the oft-ignored workers get some pub, then what’s the problem? Well, I take issue with the idea that players and owners are morally wrong for gridlocking, that they are somehow destructively frivolous for taking hard stances when billions are at stake. I object to a self-serving argument that asks either party to agree for the sake of agreeing–or to accept a bad CBA deal for the sake of part-time stadium employees. Is it awful that some amid the working poor are about to be worse off? Certainly, but the desperation of America’s shrinking middle class is something for a government to address–not Derek Fisher.

I still clench my stomach whenever David Stern makes this owner-stoked money play sound like a plea to help young Oliver Twist, and the NBA could certainly be shamed over how much public cash they use. That’s more my moralizing speed, perhaps you prefer to yell at Joe Johnson’s shoe closet. But let’s not act like sleazy politicians, mawkishly feigning concern for Joe-Selling-Six-Pack.


Related posts:

  1. To Fellow Lost Bloggers

Trackbacks

  1. [...] that thousands of workers are going to lose jobs because of the lockout (by the way, don't tell me I don't care). They just want extra cash so that they can continue to ride in leer jets and eat $500 [...]

  2. [...] WNBA Finals last night]: :07 – :11 – The Stadium Workers [A discussion brought on by Ethan's most recent piece.] :11 – :26 – Person of Interest: Emma Carmichael [Part 1, Part 2 - Emma talks about [...]

  3. [...] morning, I tumbled out of bed and into Twitter thorns. My “Nobody really cares about stadium workers” post had prompted much immediate (tweeted) outrage–or at least more anger than I’m used to [...]

  4. [...] sentiment still remains. Maybe the owners and players don’t “owe” us anything, and maybe, as Ethan Sherwood Strauss argues over at Hoopspeak, us bloggers are pretending to care about stadium workers to hide our owns selfish intentions (my [...]

  5. [...] waitresses, custodians and all the others who make part-time money as a result of NBA games. But as Ethan Sherwood Strauss pointed out, “nobody really cares about stadium workers.” Strauss was mostly talking about writers [...]

Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wpburn.com wordpress themes