Early Responses from the Players' Side: Revenue Sharing is Viewed as a Salary Cap, and is a Non-Starter

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Early Responses from the Players’ Side: Revenue Sharing is Viewed as a Salary Cap, and is a Non-Starter

Chicago Cubs

I don’t have any data or historical anecdotes to back this up – how could I? – but I have a gut feeling that fighting publicly about the financial side of the game in this moment in time will serve absolutely no useful purpose. It will not help the players with leverage. It will not help the owners with leverage. It will serve only to remind quarantined, sick, and/or suffering fans that for all the PR-speak about “healing” and a “greater good,” there was no pandemic large enough to take the sport’s focus off of the almighty dollar.

None of that is to say that the sides should not negotiate following the league’s initial proposal, which is to be submitted to the players tomorrow. Of course they should negotiate, and of course that should include money considerations. These are complicated financial matters that could dramatically impact the lives of thousands. Each side will understandably aim to get the best deal it can, and I hope that the players are fairly compensated in a very unique and challenging situation. 

Instead, I’m saying only: it serves absolutely nobody’s interest for the fighting to spill over into the public view right out of the gate. 

… which, if today is any indication, is going to happen in full force this week. I mean, the proposal hasn’t even formally reached the players yet, and you have this:

Up front, I’ll note that I was circumspect about a revenue-sharing system from the get-go, so I do understand the players’ beef. For a whole host of reasons I discussed previously, sharing revenue (loss) this year equally does not seem fair to the players.

But what I don’t understand is why they’ve run to the media to spread that beef publicly before they’ve even received the proposal. Again, it’s just my gut, but I don’t see how this actually helps the players get what they want (an extremely safe plan, and one that gets them prorated salaries). Instead, it will just make them into “the group that is refusing to return to baseball because they aren’t getting enough money.” I don’t believe that angle myself, but I’ve done this long enough to know that’s how 75% of fandom responds whenever the public comment on money comes from the player side. 

Again, players have the right – and their representatives have a duty – to seek as much compensation for playing this year as they can. I just think griping about the proposal publicly, immediately, will not help the players get where they need to be. And if it doesn’t, and if it just engenders more anger, then it also don’t help the sport as a whole, either. It just causes more problems. And don’t even get me started on what happens if money – rather than the virus – winds up the reason this season is cancelled.

In any case, this is just the opening of this process. Let’s see where we are after the players get a better sense of what revenue-sharing would look like (I’ll admit, there could be some under-the-hood particulars that make it look a lot better for the players than we can see right now as outsiders). And let’s hope there isn’t an escalation of argumentation in the public sphere.

For what it’s worth, I wish the response from the players – and then lobbed back thoughtfully from the owners – looked a lot more like what Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle put out today:



Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.