The NBA lockout just went apocalyptic
Well, it can’t be said this wasn’t expected. After negotiations that can only be described as “excruciating” to follow, the NBA Players’ Association has openly admitted what everyone else already probably knew: They aren’t going to be able to get this done. That admission leaves the players no choice but to dissolve the union and seek resolution of the labor dispute in federal court. What does this mean for the negotiations up to now? It means throw them out and forget any small amount of progress, cause they’ll be starting over in court. At least the legal system isn’t notoriously slow moving and bogged down in bureaucracy and red tape and has the ability to move swiftly towards a resolution…oh wait, no, it’s the opposite of that. My mistake. What say you, people important to these failed negotiations?
Following a weekend of unusually-aggressive public lobbying by Stern in support of a take-it-or-leave-it proposal issued by owners Nov. 10, (NBAPA executive director Billy) Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher announced that — with negotiations between the sides essentially hopeless at this stage — they planned to file an antitrust lawsuit within 48 hours. The suit will seek a summary judgment that deems the NBA shutdown which began July 1 to be illegal.
Oh good, “hopeless” is definitely the word you want to hear about the resolution of this lockout.
Hunter then acknowledged in an interview with NBA TV that, even though the NBPA pushed for disclaiming its status as the players’ collective bargaining representative over decertification to get into a courtroom faster, there is a “high probability” that the entire 2011-12 season will be lost because of the lengthy nature of court proceedings.
There had been talk about making this move during the summer, but the players and the Union decided to give collective bargaining with the owners (aka banging their heads against a brick wall) another few weeks. Now, the move sets negotiations back and virtually kills any chance the season happens because this case won’t see a courtroom for months. Good call waiting on this one, guys.
Said (NBA commissioner David) Stern in a subsequent interview on ESPN: “The union decided in its infinite wisdom that the proposal would not be presented to membership [for a vote].” Referring to union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, Stern added ominously: “Obviously Mr. Kessler got his way and we are about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA.”
“If I were a player,” Stern continued, “I would be wondering what it is that Billy Hunter just did.”
You don’t see the usually reserved lawyer David Stern getting lippy, but his frustration is palpable and he’s not holding back the sarcasm anymore. Also, if you’re keeping score at home, we’ve had one member of the negotiations call the lockout “hopeless,” and the commissioner of the league just compared it to a post-nuclear war apocalyptic horror-scape. Makes you feel good about the future of the league.
The short story of what has happened is that the union took the players position as far as they could. The owners stood firm on their position in order to rein in what has been the most player-friendly CBA in all of sports and to cut down on bad contracts to players and franchises hemorrhaging money. Neither side would back down from their position, so the union is officially throwing in the towel on collectively bargaining this problem away and leaving up to the players to file anti-trust lawsuits against the league. So expect to see a disorganized mass of players rushing to file in courts that will take months to sort through before anyone sees a judge inside a court room, effectively burying any chance that a season still happens this year. Hope everyone got their fill of LeBron fail from last summer’s Finals, cause it will probably have to hold you for awhile…