Blog Entry

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

Posted on: November 14, 2011 2:54 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 6:27 am
Posted by Royce Young

Read Ken Berger of 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.”

Category: NBA

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 8:00 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

First and last I'll say about it -- I like the NBA and their players. But, the greedy unions and player agents can rot because they do absolutely nothing for the average NBA fan and the game itself. They rate right up the with scumbag politicians and lawyers in my book.

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:50 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Mar 12, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:41 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

Does anyone trust Stern? I don't. They don't come more disingenous.  He is a one man microcosm of what is wrong with corporate America. Don't try to fool America into thinking this was Billy Hunter's fault...Stern's charade is over.

Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:38 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

These players are really looking bad. A 50/50 split they are turning down will be remembered in history. BRING ON THE REPLACEMENTS

Since: Oct 30, 2011
Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:35 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

Nah, if they file suit, season is over and maybe the NBA.

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:26 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

Overpaid babies pissing and whining about how they're only getting paid 473,604 (league minimum) up to 24.8 million (Kobe). Add to that the endorsement contracts and you've got yourself some ungrateful pricks league wide. I hope they cancel the season and the NBA never recovers. I'd prefer to watch college kids who give a damn rather than some overhyped and overpriced turd who cares more about how fat his pocket roll is rather than pleasing the fans with a modicum of effort. I'm going to watch hockey, two fingers and I'm done with the NBA.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 7:22 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

The players have received bad advice from self serrving agents and lawyers. Time to void the contracts and reset the league. Salaries and costs have gotten way out of control. Owners can not continue to try to suck more and more money out of fans and TV contracts. The NBA should be a place where a working class family of four can afford to go. Looking at the salary projections going forward 5-10 years, how in the world will those huge salaries be paid for? And how in the world could players turn down the salaries?

Let's get the NBA up and running ASAP even if it is with $40 tickets and players not currently in the league. Let the current NBAers go to China and Europe and ride busses and have owners not pay what they were promised. Players have taken 57% of all money and had the owners pay all of their bills- first class with the owner's 43% share. It is not right. Time for a change.

Since: Apr 26, 2010
Posted on: November 14, 2011 6:53 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

Romeobodeodo, you seem to have a point, except you don't understand the way the former CBA worked. Your point that the owners should have not written contracts for the amounts they did is valid. Its valid until you realize that they had to spend so much money each year on players based on the 57%BRI. But since the league starting taking on water, and the contracts stayed high, now the owners are stuck with these contracts and not enough money to pay them. You can blame whomever you want for that. Players, owners, it doesn't really matter. The point is, unless the selfish, uneducated players realize that demanding more money than the system produces isn't going to work, then the NBA is never going to function again. If you were an NBA owner, would you agree to a CBA that demanded you pay more than you brought in? Of course not. So you can say what you want about who is to blame, but the simple math of this situation says that the players are making a big big mistake.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: November 14, 2011 6:36 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

A simple response to those who think an alternate league might be formed. The present offer - unacceptable to the players - will cause the owners to lose approximately $34M per year. So the new owners trying to present a business plan to replace the NBA would have to have a signed agreement to not only cover those losses but the provide a return on investment ($10.8 billion per Forbes) of around 10% per year. That return has to reduce the players' salaries to $786 million or 20.6% of BRI. That is assuming (an impossible assumption) they could raise the $10.8 billion, arrange arenas, hire coaches, scouts, league offices etc.

Romobodeodo says:
It's obvious that stern is being disingenuous in placing the blame entirely on the players, but he works for the owners. He has to take that position. I still can't get over the notion that the real problem is with the owners themselves and their inability to share a great deal of money among themselves, as well as keep from spending more money on contracts than they can either afford or is prudent.
Actually let me help you get over it. The last BRI was $3.8 billion. The players received 57% or $2.166 billion. The overhead of running the league was $1.934 Billion. That leaves the owners having to come up with $300 million per year or an average of $10 million per team. Now you can do revenue sharing any way you want but you still have to come up $300 million short overall. It does not matter how they spend money on contracts since the total has to amount to the guaranteed % in the CBA to the players. Sure they could be more efficient with those contracts. It just means someone else has more money to spend but the totals never change. Neither of your points addresses the problem which is that player salaries need to be below 34% to provide even a 4% return on investment for the owners. The owners at 50% still lose money and have no return. That is bad business. You will not see 50% reappear for the players without some slight-of-hand done for the union ex-union leaders to save face.

Since: Nov 19, 2007
Posted on: November 14, 2011 6:21 pm

Stern responds to players' antitrust lawsuit

Count me in but I am paying $400 instead.

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