Blog Entry

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 8:54 pm
 
NEW YORK -- Unable to reach a collective bargaining agreement with the NBA, the union representing the players dissolved Monday and paved the way for a potentially lengthy and ugly antitrust lawsuit to be filed within days.

With a unanimous show-of-hands vote from as many as 50 players, the union sent a disclaimer of interest letter to commissioner David Stern, which effectively ended the National Basketball Players Association's role as the collective bargaining agent for the players. Outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler and star attorney David Boies -- whom the players met for the first time Monday -- will lead the legal team that will sue the NBA alleging antitrust violations.

"We've negotiated in good faith for over two years," said Billy Hunter, who now becomes executive director of the National Basketball Players Trade Association -- no longer the leader of the players' union. "The players just felt that they've given enough."

Stern, speaking live on league broadcast partner ESPN, called the players' tactic "a charade" and characterized it as a "magical trick" that ultimately will fail.

"What they've done is destroyed incredible value that would've gone to the union membership," Stern said. "... We were very close, and they decided to blow it up."

Stern made no pronouncements about further cancellation of games, but added, "The calendar takes care of that." Although the disclaimer action initiated by union executive director Billy Hunter is more expeditious than a decertification vote initiated by the players, the legal fight that will ensue certainly imperils the 2011-12 season.

"Obviously, Mr. Kessler got his way," Stern said, "and we're about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA."

During a meeting attended by the players' executive committee, player reps from all 30 teams and about 20 more players -- including superstar Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Carlos Boozer, Rajon Rondo and Elton Brand -- union officials presented and explained details of the league's most recent offer. It had been characterized as the final revised proposal the league intended to offer, and if the players didn't accept it, Stern's negotiating position would revert to a harsher offer -- including player salaries being derived from a 47 percent share of revenues, a hard team salary cap and rollbacks of existing contracts.

The deal on the table for the players Monday included a 50-50 split of revenues -- a 12 percent reduction from their previous share of 57 percent -- and a long list of system and spending restrictions. Hunter said the meeting gained momentum and changed in tone once players raised the option of decertification. They ultimately chose the more expeditious option of a disclaimer, with Hunter saying a summary judgment in the antitrust case could possibly be reached in 60 days -- about the length of time it would've taken the National Labor Relations Board to authorize an election through a player-initiated decertification. 

About 200 players already had signed decertification petitions, displeased with the league's negotiating tactics and the concessions made by the union. Among these were 15 players in the meeting Monday, Hunter said.

The former union executive director said he has no intentions of withdrawing the NBPA's unfair-labor practices charge with the NLRB, although it is not clear how the agency will view it now that the union has been dissolved.

While the route the union chose is quicker than decertification, it is no silver bullet for the NBA players to win what are known as "treble damages" -- three times lost earnings resulting from the lockout -- or to eventually get a better deal. For starters, there will be a significant legal fight over where the union is allowed to file its antitrust case. Presumably, the players would prefer to file it in an employee-friendly district in California, under the auspices of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. For this reason, the NBA in August filed a pre-emptive lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, which falls in the employer-friendly 2nd Circuit. 

Once that is resolved, the league will argue that the players' disclaimer is a "sham" -- in other words, a tactic designed to gain negotiating leverage rather than a serious union dissolution. The NFL Players Association tried the same tactic, and started much earlier in the process -- principally because it had no other choice due to a litigated deadline to decertify or disclaim or lose the option going forward.

The NFLPA never got an ultimate ruling on whether the lockout or disclaimer were legal, but instead got a narrow ruling from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the federal district court did not have the authority to lift the lockout.

"I felt the combination of Boies and Kessler, from my perspective, would be an unbeatable team," Hunter said. "... We feel extremely confident that we can prevail in this matter. That’s the opinion of both lawyers."

In a statement released by the league office after his live TV interview, Stern said, "The 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy," and immediately began laying the groundwork for what could be the mother of all antitrust lawsuits. Stern alluded to a February 2010 bargaining session in which union attorney Kessler threatened that the players would "abandon the collective bargaining process and start an antitrust lawsuit against our teams if they did not get a bargaining resolution that was acceptable to them."

"The NBA has negotiated in good faith throughout the collective bargaining process but -- because our revised bargaining proposal was not to its liking -- the union has decided to make good on Mr. Kessler's threat."
Comments

Since: Apr 15, 2008
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:36 am
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

like? your basement ? greece maybe?....ya that'll work.  

besides if the Hawks did leave about 3 people who have jobs would care
actually most economic studies indicate there isn't all that much positive or negative collateral impact on a city from a NBA or NHL franchise 
 
2011 avg.... 30,387

but that has nothing to do with the point ..the point is Poindexter, our Braves, Falcons, Georgia, and even Georgia Tech and minor league hockey tickets were used....our Hawks tickets were often left unclaimed in the company break room because no one cared for the NBA. 

So you can pretend all you want...thats what fanboys do.....but the truth is very few people miss the NBA much at all.

What's wrong? couldn't get out all of your thoughts in comment? You had to make four in a row?

Do you have any proof about these "economic studies" you speak of? Or just your dumb ass opinion?

Poindexter? Like seriously??? What's next? you going to call me a poopy head?

No one cares about basketball in Atlanta nor hockey nor baseball... When you have 90 wins and are competing for a wildcard spot you should be averaging more than thirty thousand a game!!!!!! There are losing teams in smaller markets who do better than that. 

I had no idea McDonalds gave away tickets..you must have worked your way from the assembly line to the assistant "special sauce maker". 


I know some people dislike the NBA and it's product, but you don't speak for the entire country. Every team had atleast 600 000 fans through there gates with the exception of  three teams. Even the Hawks were above that mark and averaged a little under 16 thousand a game, which isn't half bad.

Go make me a Big Mac. 



Since: Jun 20, 2010
Posted on: November 15, 2011 12:21 am
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

To answer your question about the crime going up, yes! LOL  Actually I don't know if crime will go up with no NBA season, but I guarantee the weed sales and abortion rate for white women in NBA cities will sky rocket.  Not to mention all the dumb arss tattoos that will be getting inked on these dumb giant babies. 

I for one don't feel bad for the NBA players at all, it's hard to feel bad for someone complaining they're not getting paid enough after they roll up in their Aston Martin, wearing a rolex and diamonds in their ears that could pay my house payments for 2 or 3 years easy.  Most of them get paid way to much for what they do, and if they don't have enough money saved to make it through a lockout season that's a damn shame.  One season lost doesn't compare to the rest of the country that has been out of work a lot longer than one year, especially since we didn't make anything close to what the league minimum is.   I do feel bad for the people who work for the teams and all the people that work at the arenas.  We are in the worst recession ever and it's only going to get worse with all those people losing their jobs.  Luckily for the all those NBA cheerleaders they can go get work at the strip clubs or just go suck off some old fart with money, for some reason that hasn't been affected by the recession.   




Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:50 pm
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

Why-they wouldn't hsve graduated anyhow!



Since: Sep 26, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:37 pm
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

I wonder if the Ray Lewis theory will apply to the NBA.  Will the crime rate jump in NBA seasons do to the following: All the unemployed players will be available for thug activities? Blacks have the highest unemployment rate in the country  (thanks Mr. Obama.) and will now have added time to also thug it up. Notice a common thread?  Lock all your doors and windows especially in the inner city.




Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:30 pm
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

What bites is the local economies (especially those near the stadiums) that will take the hit and those people who have to fight to make a living
actually most economic studies indicate there isn't all that much positive or negative collateral impact on a city from a NBA or NHL franchise 



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:24 pm
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

 Braves attendance has also dwindled a lot
2011 avg.... 30,387

but that has nothing to do with the point ..the point is Poindexter, our Braves, Falcons, Georgia, and even Georgia Tech and minor league hockey tickets were used....our Hawks tickets were often left unclaimed in the company break room because no one cared for the NBA.

So you can pretend all you want...thats what fanboys do.....but the truth is very few people miss the NBA much at all.  



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:14 pm
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

Hunter said. "... We feel extremely confident that we can prevail in this matter. That’s the opinion of both lawyers."



what? you mean the lawyers didnt say, 'we got no chance, but we'll take your money anyway' ?

this is gonna get funny



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:07 pm
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

And the Hawks will go somewhere where people actually care about basketball
like? your basement ? greece maybe?....ya that'll work. 

besides if the Hawks did leave about 3 people who have jobs would care



Since: Nov 14, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:58 pm
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

I bet the NBA will fold.....bunch of idiots cant even kiss and make up...oh well!!!!  I feel bad for players that left college early for the NBA...



Since: Dec 11, 2010
Posted on: November 14, 2011 10:30 pm
 

NBA players blow up union, take fight to court

why is there even a players union like really? let the players make the decison themselves and if they want to be so greedy then why dont the NBA recruit players who have skill of the street like me? lol. there are plenty tall guys out here who want to play. and that way the players who currently are in the NBA can play too if they choose. this way fantasy season can get going and a season can get going. this is the 2nd time this has happened in 12 years and this time no season at all im sure. i respected the NBA so much cuz they were about the community, the world and the postive things and now i see both sides are so greedy and selfish. if a player wants to be greedy then he doesnt have to play. no pay no play and the NBA would be just fine. some of these players think they are that good.


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