Players' decision not sitting well with Jazz fans

Published: Monday, Nov. 14 2011 11:23 p.m. MST

Contractor and Jazz fan Dean Duncombe said "I hope it all works out, but I'm not going to buy anybody Jazz jerseys for the holiday season" when asked about the NBA labor dispute.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — The 'Bout Time Pub & Grub, located 'bout a minute walk from EnergySolutions Arena, has an illuminated Utah Jazz jersey hanging on its wall.

The sporty décor also includes a Jazz street sign and team pennant, among other paraphernalia.

NBA fans hang out there, too.

But the new sports bar at The Gateway is missing something that would spice up the place.

There are zero Utah Jazz games to be found on its 21 TV sets.

Because of what happened in the NBA on Monday, it's unknown when Utah's favorite basketball team will return to the air and when pro players will get back on the court.

The playing court, that is.

Team representatives from the National Basketball Players Association turned down the owners' latest collective bargaining agreement proposal and voted unanimously Monday to disband the union.

In effect, the players' "disclaimer of interest" moved deal-making discussions from the bargaining table to a to-be-determined courtroom.

With that move, lawyers become the key players and the already-delayed NBA season now dangles on the precipice of cancellation.

"There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement," NBA commissioner David Stern said. "But the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy."

According to union president and former Jazz guard Derek Fisher, "This is the best decision for the players."

If you ask Jazz fans — and we did, in person and online — wannabe spectators left out by the lockout don't believe it was the best decision for them or the game they love.

"They're shooting themselves in the foot," said Todd Hudson, a casual NBA fan visiting Utah for business. "It turns me off."

"I am disgusted about this whole thing," Jazz fan Jordan Marshall tweeted in response to a Deseret News query.

"My reaction?" wrote Jazz fan/blogger AllThatAmar. "(This) complicated situation was successfully guided by personal agendas to crash upon the rocks of failure island."

"I'm ticked!" Casey Colyar added.

"The fans are getting the raw end of the deal," a fan dubbed "JazzHype" tweeted. "WE are the ones paying for basketball, and that's all we want. Basketball."

And that merely scratches the surface of sourness.

Giddy about a bunch of Jazz rallies a year ago, fans now feel down and let down.

"Greed is the only winner in this debacle," Jazz fan Ryan Sullivan wrote. "Everyone else loses. Players, owners, fans, economies, everyone."

While many fans are riled and fed up, disinterested describes others.

"What's an NBA?" Christopher Kamrani sarcastically joked.

Garrett Gregson is a self-proclaimed "huge basketball fan." But now he makes this claim: "Not sure I will ever have the same passion for the NBA."

Kevin Schafer echoed that sentiment: "If we lose the whole season, it'll be quite a few years before I consider purchasing a ticket to an NBA game again."

Same goes for Brett Preston, a six-year season-ticket holder who is canceling his order: "Not going to waste my money anymore."

Kurt Adison voiced his frustrations that neither the owners nor players are talking about the plight of the fans and arena employees whose jobs are affected.

"There's a huge disconnect," he wrote.

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