I had typed out a lengthy response but read your last line and realized you're not interested in an actual discussion.
Owners 100% at fault, players 0%. You have made your position understood.
You use the word 'ultimately', but the context of your surrounding argument seems to suggest the word 'entirely'.... and you would be right... in a world without labor unions. That is the point that keeps getting ignored... the owners are not free to run a successful franchise as they see fit... they are beholden to a CBA forced upon them by the players... that must be negotiated with the players - so that the players do effect the way business is run. You cannot hold the owners entirely responsible when their business decisions are in part dictated by the players.The CBA... it keeps getting conveniently left out of any argument skewering the owners. The last CBA was a large factor in creating the environment where owners felt compelled to give out large contracts to be competitive.
Let me spare several people the time and effort in their response by paraphrasing their responses for them:
"BUT the owners won BIG in the last CBA!!... they dictated this and now we are supposed to feel bad for them?!"... blah blah.
- Euro_Twins likes this