Washington DC: The US Department of Labor has indicated that the National Basketball Association (NBA) players strike and the various occupy city protests being staged across the USA appear to be related.
There was a collapse of negotiations between the NBA players and owners and subsequent player lockouts, which began with a players strike in July 2011. Preliminary season games to begin in September 2011 were cancelled. The various occupy city protests began in late September and in earnest in October 2011 when basketball fans realized that the regular season basketball games that were to begin on November 1, 2011 were not going to happen.
Occupy city protesters appeared in the streets of Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Oakland, Portland, Denver, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia. This represents a direct correlation with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knickerbockers, Portland Trailblazers, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76er's.
Other cities like Baltimore and Oakland had protests because the protesters are demanding a professional basketball team franchise locate there.
There were many signs carried by protesters at the various rallies such as: We demand "Free Throws," More "Full Denial," No "Draft," US Needs "Zone Defense" System, No More "Cutting and Faking," No "Out-of-bounds Plays" and Eliminate "Dribbling." The theme of the protesters seems to be the support of the 99% of underpaid players by the 1% NBA wealthy team owners.
An unconfirmed rumor is circulating inside the beltway that the Basketball Fan in Chief may issue an executive order forcing collective bargaining to take place between the NBA and the players. The rationale being that any loss of jobs, any decrease in the sales of sports merchandise and any lost of remaining game event gate receipts must be avoided during the current recession to prevent tax revenues from decreasing.
Several sports pundits have commented that a heightened interest in college, high school and playground basketball may increase if the NBA strike is not settled quickly.
National Football League (NFL) officials had no comments as to why no street protests occurred during their 132 day lockout/player strike which began in March 2011.