Sport is slowly returning. The Bundesliga has been back for a few weeks, the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A will soon follow. The NHL has found an inflated playoffs structure to work with, and the NBA is being open-minded.
Major League Baseball, meanwhile, is embroiled in a dispute between ownership and players, a dispute that is seeing minor leaguers pay cut further, forcing many to reconsider their career in the sport.
According to Jeff Passan late on Sunday, the Major League Baseball Players Association has delivered a counter-proposal that features a 114-game season, deferred salaries if the playoffs are cancelled and the opportunity for players to opt out.
This follows an overwhelming rejection of MLB’s recent proposal, which would have seen the players lose a significant proportion of promised incomes. Thus far, MLB has been navigating what many would call a PR disaster.
The first proposal was divisive, as these negotiations often are. The players were furious.
Followers, onlookers or century-long supporters will come down on one side – either the owners or players. The nature of these discussions creates tension, it puts either the owners or players in a bad light, depending on the point of view taken.
For the most part, and rightly so in my opinion, fans and the televised media stood with the players. Regardless, it is never a good look for a sport to have the owners so keen to save every dime. Many of the players might be millionaires, but these owners are far, far wealthier, and in the case of minor leaguers, are putting people under severe financial strain.
At a time when thousands have died because of coronavirus, billions of people have had to drastically alter their lives and many are unsure what the future holds, some obscenely rich owners are looking to cut pay to players who will be risking their health to return to the baseball field. To play devil’s advocate, some will see it as overpaid sportspeople will not do their job when many others around the world are being asked to in much riskier circumstances.
Whatever your view on this dispute, the league does not come out of this looking good. The damage, to a certain extent at least, has already been done.
The response to the MLBPA’s counter-proposal is unlikely to be positive. This could rumble on for weeks to come, further damaging MLB’s reputation.