It was less than a year ago that Donald Trump’s lawyer introduced himself to the world with a statement whose first line was, “I am Marc Kasowitz, Predisent Trump’s personal lawyer,” and immediately became a laughingstock. You would think, after that happened, that there would be a period of time where anyone putting out what they regarded to be an important public statement would be sure to proofread the thing.
Yet, somehow, when the unions of the top four American professional sports leagues put out a joint message on Thursday, it seemed as if they had not, between them, employed a single copy editor.
The statement read: “Given the pending Supreme Court decision regarding the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), representatives of the MLBPA, NBPA, NFLPA and NHLPA have been working together on the legal, commercial, practical, and human consequences of allowing sports betting to become mainstream. The time has come to address not just who profits from sports gambling, but also the costs. Our unions have been discussing the potential impact of legalized gambling on players’ privacy and publicity rights, the integrity of our games and the volatility on our businesses. Betting on sports may become widely legal, but we cannot allow those who have lobbied the hardest for sports gambling to be the only ones controlling how it would be ushered into our businesses. The athletes must also have a seat at the table to ensure that players’ rights and the integrity of our games are protected.”
There is nothing as egregious as “Predisent,” to be sure, but that’s a statement of not even 150 words in which three things jump out. Most importantly, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act should be PASPA, not PAPSA, and the acronym isn’t even used again in the statement, so there’s no reason to include it anyway. The unions also cannot seem to get together on whether they should use the Oxford comma, which might have been useful to let a reader pause before getting to “the volatility on our businesses,” a phrase that does not, you know, exist.
These problems may seem minor, but it is sloppy work that points to a trend of the unions generally not having their act together.
Baseball owners have managed to institute what basically amounts to a salary cap while the union has been prioritizing travel perks, and this winter’s business climate has led to speculation about Tony Clark’s future leading the MLBPA. The NFLPA’s meager response to Colin Kaepernick, and now Eric Reid, being denied employment has been laughable. The NHLPA has issues in dealing with retired players and health issues. The NBPA under Michele Roberts is doing the best work for its members out of the four.
For all their issues, the unions joining together on gambling makes sense because they do have common interests, namely a cut of the money associated with legal gambling. The “privacy issues,” meaning personal health information, and “integrity of the game” already are things that need to be thought about, and are, in a world where there still is sports gambling, but it’s just not legal, except in Las Vegas, where they got a pro sports team this season and the world as we know it did not end.
Well, not yet anyway. We’ll see what the Predisent does next.