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NBA Superstar Danny Granger Is Helping Those Hurt Most By The NBA Lockout

Submitted by on October 19, 2011 – 4:25 pmNo Comment

In the court of public opinion, score one for the NBA players over the NBA owners.

Though all of the negotiations involving the NBA lockout seem to revolve around the players and owners, there is another group—a very large group, in fact—that is being affected by the work stoppage that the NBA is going through. That group includes all of the people who are employed by individual NBA teams. The people who work at concession stands at NBA arenas, who help keep NBA arenas secure, and who clean up NBA arenas before, during, and after games are currently unemployed like so many others throughout the country—and they’re getting lost in the shuffle as the players and owners steal the headlines.

But at least one NBA superstar wants to make sure that’s not the case. On Sunday, Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger jumped onto his Twitter account and announced that all of the people who work at the Pacers home arena Conseco Fieldhouse are going to be invited to have dinner with him in the very near future.

“All the workers at our arena are invited to dinner with me in Indianapolis,” Granger tweeted. “Date to be announced soon…A little #nbalockout gift.”

It’s a gesture by Granger that, surprisingly, has already caused a bit of controversy. For starters, some bloggers have seen Granger’s offer of  dinner to be waaaaay too small of a gift for all of those people out there who have essentially lost their jobs because of him. They feel as though Granger should donate some money to help support a few of those people who have become unemployed as a result of the lockout. Others see Granger’s move as selfish in that he’s only doing it to get some positive press for NBA players. They feel as though he’s making a spectacle out of the dinner on Twitter in order to get the NBA players some favorable press.  And the rest think Granger is unsuccessfully trying to sympathize with the workers when, in reality, he’s not in a position to do so. He’s rich just like the owners, they say, and he can’t possibly understand what the middle-class workers are going through.

I happen to see things in a different way. Even if Granger is using this dinner as an opportunity for him to get the NBA players some good press, it’s also giving the thousands of people out there employed by NBA arenas and teams some good press, too. Although there have been some NBA analysts and bloggers talking about them, they have for the most part been the silent victims of the lockout. Granger’s dinner likely won’t make their lives any better financially or help them through the tough times that are surely ahead. But it’ll shine some light on their struggles and, at the very least, give them the chance to share them with Granger.

I’m not naive enough to think that a single dinner will really change the lives of hundreds of people. But I do feel as though Granger is making an effort to do good here—which more than I can say about any of the NBA owners or most of the players right now. In a lockout that involves millionaires and billionaires arguing over billions of dollars, both sides need to be more mindful of the regular Joes that are hurting as a result of it. And they need to act accordingly.

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