While the end of the NFL lockout has sent fans into a football frenzy, the other lockout looks to be getting worse.
After a month of zero communication between the two sides following the official start of the lockout, owners’ and players’ representatives met yesterday. The meeting didn’t go well.
A downcast Commissioner David Stern said “nothing” gave him reason for encouragement after a 2 ½-hour meeting Monday between owners and players, the first to include leadership from both sides since the lockout began exactly a month ago.
“I don’t feel optimistic about the players’ willingness to engage in a serious way,” Stern said.
Stern added nothing had changed since the last meeting on June 30, hours before the old collective bargaining agreement expired, and said he doesn’t feel players are bargaining in good faith.
In fact, these opening talks were so hostile that the NBA has now sued the players, filing an “unfair labor practice charge” against the NBA Players’ Association. Indeed, this is likely retribution for the NBAPA’s official complaint to the National Labor Relations Board (the decision is pending). What the NBA could be concerned about would be a strong legal move on the players’ part to decertify and officially file anti-trust legislation, similar to what happened in the NFL’s labor dispute.
This might all just be standard hard-bargaining and public maneuvering on the part of both sides. But David Stern & co.’s public statements demonstrate a bitterness against the people they’re negotiating with. The situation is developing very slowly and it seems no one is in an especially urgent rush to get to the negotiating table. Deadline to preserve the start of the season: officially in jeopardy.