Oct 29, 2011, 9:01 AM EST
We’ve known for a while that Miami Heat owner Micky Arison is a dove — he wants his team to start playing basketball again, he’d pretty much take the players deal on the table right now and roll with the season. As fans who want to see basketball, he’s our guy. Start the games. But as we know, hardliners are driving the bus.
When NBA labor talks blew up again on Friday, NBA fans were rightfully frustrated and lashed out on twitter. At players, at owners, at just about anyone.
Arison — the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines and someone active on twitter — got some of that backlash. One fan tweeted:
“How’s it feel to be apart of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don’t give a damn about fans … and guess what? Fans provide all the money you’re fighting over … you greedy (expletive) pigs.”
Arison’s reply: “Honestly u r barking at the wrong owner.”
We’d show you the actual tweet, but Arison took it down within the hour. Which you can bet came at the urging of the button down NBA league office. You can also bet that Arison — who is not button down, he looks like you think a rich guy in Miami should, tan and without a tie — has a fine coming, because he wasn’t done.
He retweeted one fan’s tweet that read: “Heat ratings proved that fans want to see super teams in big markets instead of a ton of small-market teams each with one (star).”
Another fan tweeted that to expect competitive balance from all “all 32 teams” was “unrealistic and stupid,” Arison re-tweeted it with a smiley face. Arison later said the smiley face was laughing at the 32 teams (the league only has 30). Right.
When one tweeter asked “are you allowed to comment about ur feelings on the small market/big market issues some of the owners bring up?” Arison replied, “no.”
This all undercuts the image Stern and his right hand man Adam Silver are working very hard to present — that the owners are a unified front. They are not. Yes they all wanted a better labor deal and were willing to push for it, but at this point some think they have enough and need to start playing. Others want the players to miss paychecks and break the union. And so here we are, with what should have been opening day Tuesday and no games scheduled, no talks even scheduled.
We need some unity. And Arison has reminded us of one thing that we all can agree on — owners, players and fans alike. It is my favorite tweet from his mini-rant.
We can all agree, nobody likes Sterling.
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