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Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett "Livid" About NBA Lockout, Blames Players' Agents

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"The arena is under construction, because we’re expanding it as part of our NBA relocation deal with the league. But still, a million dollars is a million dollars into the economy and we could withstand a couple of games because that’s what we’re losing from the first two weeks’ cancellation. But if this goes on and if this were to somehow become the whole season, it would become a significant economic impact and as I mentioned it would also impact our ability to sell Oklahoma City to a worldwide audience."

Obviously, Cornett has little say in the matter, as he is neither an owner nor a part of the players union. But it is interesting to think about his perspective. Local Government isn't a part of the negotiations, yet they are those who are most affected by the lockout. Owners have other assets, players have other leagues, writers can write about the lockout, and fans have other hobbies. But Mayors don't have anything else to fill up their arena. Cirque Du Soleil only comes to town so often, and no other minor/major league sports game occurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. With the lockout, the extra cent of sales tax has essentially paid for a gigantic white elephant, no more useful than All Sports Stadium was after the 89ers left it.

As for blaming the agents of the players, it seems like the obvious choice for him to make. Cornett probably spends a lot more time with Clay Bennett than he does Kevin Durant, and the arena initiative was backed with corporate help. I'm not trying to judge on whether where he placed his anger is right or wrong, but I do think that his anger concerning the situation is justified, given how much money the city is set to lose.

Below: Should Mayors be given a position at the bargaining table?

Should Mayors be given a position at the bargaining table? Ideally, yes. Realistically, no. Mayor Kevin Johnson was basically elected on a platform of keeping the Kings in Sacramento. Many Seattle denizens blame former mayor Greg Nickels for handing the SuperSonics over to Oklahoma City, and some believe he wasn't elected to a third term because of that. But there's no real way to factor them into the equation. Owners aren't contractually obliged to field a team in the arena that was funded by the city. Rather, they purchase a lease for the arena on certain dates, and have the right to cancel that lease. In addition, owners may or may not have helped pay for the construction of a new arena, and they are losing revenue because of the lockout, so they really don't have to answer to the mayors or local government. Players are even further disconnected from the situation, as they are simply a union of people that work for the owners, just as the referees are. Thus, Mayors are destined to forever remain on the sideline of the issue, their only bargaining power being threats of not building a new arena. It's unfair, but that's life, I guess.