Blog Entry

Billy Hunter: NBA players ready for work stoppage

Posted on: March 22, 2011 3:47 pm
NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter says NBA players "won't cave" and are prepared for a work stoppage. Posted by Ben Golliver. billy-hunter

Surveying the last year or so of headlines concerning the NBA's ongoing labor dispute, it's striking how one-sided the discussion is. NBA commissioner David Stern has dominated the public discourse, with NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and NBA Players Association President Derek Fisher speaking only occasionally and almost always with a vague optimism and commitment to the process.

That pattern seems to be shifting this week, as Hunter has shown a more forceful, combative side.

In an interview, Hunter disputed Stern's statements that the two sides have agreed on the owners' financial situation. Why is that a big deal? Because that was the biggest headline coming out of Stern's All-Star Weekend address, a statement that would provide hope because it would allow the negotiating process to begin. The two sides can't truly negotiate unless they see eye-to-eye.   

Almost as important as that statement of fundamental difference is that Hunter also made it clear that the players were ready for a long battle.
Hunter dismissed the idea that players are unprepared to weather a work stoppage.
"That's the belief," he said. "That was put to rest and proven false in [the lockout of] 1998. And I can assure you that if the owners continue to push for the deal they've been pushing for for the last two years now, that the players will take a stand. They won't cave. And they'll ride through this lockout." Hunter said he does not yet know what's driving the league's tough stand.
"We're trying to determine whether it's all rhetoric, or if it's real," Hunter said. "We'll only know in time. We're not in a position right now to say. David [Stern] hasn't given me any indication for me to conclude that it's rhetoric. He seems pretty strident, and pretty much dug in in terms of where he is.
In a Yahoo! Sports report, Hunter also seemingly dismissed many of the owners' desired changes in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement by pointing out those changes were already proposed and rejected in previous bargaining sessions dating back years.
“Ironically, a lot of the same things that David and the owners are demanding now are identical to what they were demanding in ’98. He said, ‘I think every one of my owners should have a guaranteed $10 million profit per year. I said, ‘Bull… . ‘What they have is predicated on how they manage their teams. Nobody forces them to sign anyone.
“It’s the same argument: ‘We’ve got these guys who got six-year deals and I’ve got to pay this guy …’ Well, [expletive] it. Why did you give it to him? Nobody put a gun to your head.”
Without question, that's the sound of heels being dug into the ground. For those hoping for a quick, painless resolution to the labor negotiations this summer, those words read like nails on a chalkboard.

The players and their labor executives are entitled to their bargaining position and the public restraint they've showed simply couldn't last forever. A one-sided media presentation of the dispute is certainly not in their best interests. 

Something to watch closely here will be Stern's response (or lack of a response) to Hunter's direct challenges. By disputing Stern's major All-Star Weekend statement, by implying that he believes the owners could be "all rhetoric" and by upping the intensity of his side's rhetoric Hunter is calling Stern to the carpet a bit here. 

One thing is for sure: If Stern gives Hunter the Stan Van Gundy treatment, we could be in for a long fall and winter.

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: March 24, 2011 2:11 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA players ready for work stoppage

It's not about how much money they make. it's the fact that they don't earn it.

Please explain to me how it is that they do not earn it?  I have yet to meet a one business owner that pays out more for an employee than they are getting back in pure profit.  If the market demands the skill then the owner has to pay for the talent.  If they do not earn it then the business owner has the option of firing them and cutting their losses.  So if they do not earn it why do the multi million dollar business owners tolerate it?

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: March 24, 2011 11:14 am

NBA Work Ethics S-U-C-K ...

It's not about how much money they make. it's the fact that they don't earn it.
Sweetluny gets it! Step to the head of the class.

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: March 24, 2011 11:09 am

Who's Responsible For This!? ...

Let's remember why the NBA was formed.
I forget. Enlighten me.

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: March 24, 2011 11:06 am

Why It Is What It Is ... Or Why It Should Be ...

I have not had one of these "Regular Joes" explain why one businessowner (frachhise owners) should be treated differently than another businessowner (NBA/ NFL players).
Er, um ... check out Kansafornian's words of wisdom below. Economics. Foundation for nation. Capitalism. Etc. That pretty much nails it, pal.

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:58 am

Definition of Thug ...

And what Lebron did was selfish and if that defines "thug" then the USA is THUG.
Your logic astounds even Ghandi.

I'm referring to NBA and NFL athletes with concealed weapons as being thugs ... and you twist that into a "selfish" Lebron?

I suppose you subscribe to the Almost Pregnant Theory as well?


Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:48 am

Indians? ...


Freud would have a field day with this one. I believe you meant "inmates"?  ;O)

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: March 24, 2011 10:45 am

Kansafornian Gets It! ...

Go to any school in the country and take any number of business or economics classes, and you'll learn about the foundational economic system that made the US what it is.  IT WASN'T distribution of wealth amoung workers! It was capitalist business people who were rewarded for their risk. 
Amen, Kansafornian. Well said. The above needs to be taped on the forehead of every poster who believes a pro player gets to peek at the owner's books.

For those who still do: Go ... Start ... Your ... Own ... League.

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: March 23, 2011 4:55 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA players ready for work stoppage

I'm really starting to hate sports and if anything wish that the fans, yes you and I, come together against these Million/Billion Dollar greedy, selfish a-holes and completely boycott every single sporting event until they come back to us with proof that they're doing things for us fans. Maybe start a fans union and go on strike ourselves or lock the owners and players out!
Your definitely on the right track.  How about taking the next step and using the money you spend cheering for someone else and spend it on yourself.

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: March 23, 2011 4:49 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA players ready for work stoppage

don't have profit sharing where I work. I'm important to the company. Why should it be any differnt in sports?
For 1 you work for someone else and did not negotiate profit sharing.  You really are not that important to the company.  Get hit by a truck today and see if they don't have a replacement for you tomorrow.  its different in sports and anywhere else that profit sharing is negotiated into the deal.  
Two parties came to an agreement about how things were going to be handled.  Now 1 party wants to change that agreement to balance the ledger a little more on their side.  There is no one that can tell me that the multi-million dollar business owners are the victims of the players.   They are the victims of bad planning and or greed.

Since: Sep 13, 2010
Posted on: March 23, 2011 2:45 pm

Billy Hunter: NBA players ready for work stoppage

right on! boycottthestadiums

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