Read Ken Berger of CBSSports.com on the players' choice to file a disclaimer suit
It didn't take long for David Stern to respond to the players' dynamite announcement that they plan to file a disclaimer to disband the union and file an antitrust lawsuit against the league.
Stern was on SportsCenter just 45 minutes after Billy Hunter said that the "collective bargaining process has completely blown up."
"Billy Hunter has decided to put the season in jeopardy and deprive his union members of an enormous payday," Stern said.
Stern had promised over the weekend that if the players did not accept the current proposal from the league that the "reset" offer would immediately go into effect that included a 47-53 revenue split and a harder "flex" cap like what's used in the NHL. Basically, a deal the players would never accept.
Billy Hunter said that the disclaimer would be filed "in a few days," presumably to give the league time to come to its senses and offer a realistic deal to the players. But everyone should've known that David Stern would not be bullied.
"That's not happening," Stern said.
Stern said that at a bargaining session in Feb. of 2007, the players' attorney Jeffrey Kessler said this could happen. "That threat has been ongoing until now, despite the NBA's good faith bargaining," Stern said.
Stern listed all the positives he saw in the new offer like guaranteed contracts and higher average salaries, but then said, "But apparently it was not to liking of the players. We anticipated this."
The theme from Stern was passing the buck to the players. "We were very close, and the players decided to blow it up," he said. Stern called this tactic "irresponsible at this late date" and even called the disclaimer a "charade."
"It's not going to work," Stern said. "If they were going to do it, they should've done it a long time ago ... they seem hell-bent on self-destruction."
As for when the next round of games is canceled, Stern simply said, "The calendar takes care of that by itself." Which is true.
Stern passed pretty much all blame to Hunter and the lawyers for persuading the players against the current proposal saying that they got the players "all hopped up" on this stuff.
"We're about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA," he said. "If I were one of the 450 players in the NBA, I would be wondering what Billy Hunter just did."
The NBA later released the following statement from Stern:
"At a bargaining session in February 2010, Jeffrey Kessler, counsel for the union, 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.
“In anticipation of this day, the NBA filed an unfair labor practice charge before the National Labor Relations Board asserting that, by virtue of its continued threats, the union was not bargaining in good faith. We also began a litigation in federal court in anticipation of this same bargaining tactic.
“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.
“There will ultimately be a new collective bargaining agreement, but the 2011-12 season is now in jeopardy.”