Sunday, October 16, 2011

NBA Lockout Will Never Resolve As Long As Star Players Continue To Interfere With Negotiations

As the NBA lockout drags on, and the rest of the sports world goes on, the players of the NBA are getting a little crazy.

Both sides of the lockout have spent the last few days presenting their case to the public at large.  NBA Commissioner David Stern has gone to great lengths to state the case of the owners and how they've already made concessions to the players (not sure what those are, because it's seemed fairly one-sided so far).

What interests me more are the responses of the players involved in the negotiations.  The union leaders are doing a fine job of presenting their case, but apparently they haven't been able to control their own people.

Reports came out of negotiations last week that a three-star contingent popped into the negotiations despite not having attended any of the prior meetings.  Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce showed up unexpectedly to where the owners were discussing things with Stern and told them that the union was solidified and that the 50/50 revenue split that was being discussed wasn't good enough for the players.

Apparently things got heated and Garnett got so explosive that talks broke down completely.

The NFL equivalent is sending in a negotiation team of Terrell Owens and Brandon Marshall.

The owners are pushing extremely hard for a deal that is beneficial to themselves.  They're trying to force some extreme changes onto the players union, and the players are having a hard time defending themselves.

This is where the lack of college-educated players hurts the NBA.  Many of these players, especially the stars, only played a year or two of college.  So things like complex labor negotiation tactics are going to be too much for the majority of these players.  They aren't approaching it intellectually, unlike what the NFL did.

When the NFL players union was negotiating their (far more profitable) labor agreement, they sent some very capable and smart men to the negotiating table.  Dominique Foxworth graduated from the University of Maryland in 3.5 years with a degree in American Studies.  Jeff Saturday graduated from the University of North Carolina.  Union president Kevin Mawae graduated from LSU.

The NBA players aren't going to come out on top in these negotiations unless they can get the rest of the union to fall in line.  When the union gets everything buttoned up, then they can truly negotiate as a strong force.  Having players go rogue on them at a crucial time isn't helping anyone.

It's possible there's been too much damage already and the players are negotiating from an already weakened, devalued level.  The owners know that they can just sit back and allow the union to self-destruct and still get everything they want in the end.  Miss one season so that they can add many millions of revenue to their pockets for years to come? I don't think the owners would mind that too much.

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