NBA players reject league offer; begin to disband union
Derek Fisher speaks on behalf of the NBA players afte they rejected the league's latest deal.
November 14th, 2011
02:26 PM ET

NBA players reject league offer; begin to disband union

The NBA players have rejected the league's latest offer and are beginning the process to disband the union.

The decision likely jeopardizes the season, according to the NBA Players Association.

The “collective bargaining process has completely broken down,” NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter said.

Hunter added that the players were not willing to accept any "ultimatums" from NBA Commissioner David Stern and felt things were not going to get any better.

"We're prepared to file this antitrust action against the NBA," Hunter said. "That's the best situation where players can get their due process."

Hunter announced that the group was moving to disband the union, which would be  converted to a trade association. This move would mean that all of the players would now be represented by legal counsel in a class action suit against the NBA. Hunter said the players will be represented by David Boies, who is known for his work during the NFL and Microsoft anti-trust lawsuits.

According to NBA.com, while the players have decided to disband the union, they are not de-certifying it - a point they say is a major difference.

"The players are filing a disclaimer of interest, an antitrust action against the league within the next two days," the post on NBA.com says. "In basic terms, they are taking the league to court."

The process could mean drawing out an already lengthy bargaining process, and could dash all hopes the NBA had that players would accept their latest offer and start a shortened 72-game season in about a month.

Derek Fisher, the union president for the players, said it was "the best decision for the players."

SI.com: Players take to Twitter after rejecting offer

"I want to reiterate that point, that a lot of individual players have a lot of things personally at stake in terms of their careers and where they stand," Fisher said. "And right now they feel it's important - we all feel it's important to all our players, not just the ones in this room, but our entire group - that we not only try to get a deal done for today but for the body of NBA players that will come into this league over the next decade and beyond."

In an ESPN interview, Commissioner David Stern had sharp words for the NBPA, particular executive director Billy Hunter and union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, whom he said "walked away" from the negotiating table.

Stern blamed Billy Hunter, the players' association executive director, saying Hunter "has decided to put the season in jeopardy and deprive his union members of an enormous payday."

He said the union refused to "bargain in good faith" and that the NBA anticipated the players' union being disbanded.

The owners' latest offer called for a 50-50 split of revenues between the owners and players, he said.

Stern accused Hunter of not putting the NBA's latest proposal to a vote. The proposal, which came after more than two years of negotiating, addressed many of the players' concerns - including the revenue split between players and owners, the hard salary cap, guaranteed contracts and average player salaries, which Stern said would have risen at least $2 million annually with the latest NBA offer.

"We are about to go into the nuclear winter of the NBA," the commissioner said. "If I were a player in the NBA ... I'd be wondering what it is that Billy Hunter just did."

The move by the NBPA to disband and sue, Stern said, is an "irresponsible" and poorly timed ploy to strengthen the players' negotiating position. Asked if he was moved by the players' resolve, Stern took exception, saying today's move "won't be classified historically as resolve. They've been badly misled."

Asked whether the 2011-2012 season will be wiped out, he said 30 days would be needed between an agreement and the beginning of games, "and now we have no one to negotiate with."

To the fans, Stern said he was sorry and that the league would try to win them back, but he could not predict when the players might take the court again. For one, a deal needs to be in place 30 days before any tipoff, and now, Stern said, there is no one to negotiate with.

Team owners locked out players in early July as the two sides tried to hammer out a new agreement. League Commissioner Stern has said the previous season was not profitable for most of the league's 30 owners, who are seeking a bigger share of league revenues.

In addition to the revenue issue, points of contention in the negotiations include the owners' plan to strengthen a salary cap and the players' demand to raise the average salary.

soundoff (1,594 Responses)
  1. evensteven

    The more each side takes their ugliness to the public, the more turned off the public gets and the more it hurts owners and players alike. This nonsense is alienating the public, and the public is ultimately making their paychecks possible. They're killing the goose that lays the golden eggs . . .

    November 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lean6

      I was once a dedicated sports fan. Now, maybe i'll stop when I see a game on while channel surfing past nothing better to watch. It's not worth the emotional investment anymore. That goes for basketball and football...the only two sports that were worth watching before. If the NBA never comes back, who cares? I'll break out my MJ videos if I want to see talent on the court.

      November 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. scranton

    I feel sorry for the employees such as the concession workers, ticket takers, ect., but to hell with the owners and the players. These owners are just greedy and most of these players can not add or subtract let alone get a job at McDonalds.

    November 14, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. evensteven

    In the picture above it certainly looks like the players have a bad taste in their mouths . . .

    November 14, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bigwilliestyles

    Well one things for sure, if they shut down the NBA, they will at least be getting rid of those affirmative action programs that are the only reason 95% of the white players have a spot on the roster.

    November 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. M.K.

    As long as dummies pay out the yazoo to watch these freaks of nature run and jump around like monkeys, the T.V. folks will exploit them. How can the economy be as bad off as it is purported to be when all of the sports arenas are filled every time a game is played? I hope all professional sports go under, and the prima donnas have to go to work. [If they can find a job[.

    November 14, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kat

    So i'm not a fan of the NBA nor do I know why their fighting and bickering, but they obviously aren't thinking about everyone else they impact such as food vendors, ushers, maintenance, local stores and restaurants, hotels, etc. While the players have their multi-millions from previous years, these regular people might have to be counting their pennies to make it through this year. If you can't figure out something for yourself, atleast think about all of the other people being affected and try harder to make it work.

    November 15, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Shubho

      It wont be America then i guess

      November 15, 2011 at 4:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Hawaiian chilipepper

    NBA players are greedy. I think they want even more money because they spend it like drunken sailors to begin with. They want wipe their butts with 100 dollar bills. They are living in a fantasy world and are very spoiled. What castles,planes, bling, etc. If they learned any self control and saved some money they wouldn't need to be so greedy.

    November 15, 2011 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kathy from NJ

    Oh no....now what will happen to the Basketball Wives?? You will seem them running to the NFL & MLB games....girl gotta do what a girl gotta do.....

    November 15, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dean

    Why arent the protesters marching on these 1% ers home? These guys make 10,000 times the average joe. These spoiled brats need to go without for 99 weeks. Cancel the entire season. Void all contracts and terms and start paying these clowns a maximum salary of $1 million. Plain and simple.

    November 15, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. savillsk

    As far as I am concerned the sports industry needs to take a step back and take a long hard look at the economy. They make more in a month than most people make in a year. I would love for one to live my life for a month and then complain about not getting $2 million more. I don't watch them so it will not be a hardship for me to give it up.

    November 15, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael T

      Good bye season, owners are losing $300,000,000 and the players are expecting what? -- good luck with that

      November 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Americkan

    As much as I wanted to see the season start it now makes no difference,Greed on both sides..so long NBA because hard working people are just plain tired of all this Greed.

    November 15, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    I quite watch NBA a long time ago... It's become "thug" ball now... No fancy plays no showmenship – just get it to the big goof ball in the middle and slam it in. All sports are getting out of control... and the people that pay are the fans... I'm tired of paying ridiculous prices to watch a game. I'm through... too much greed on both ends for me. NBA will not be missed in my book. Maybe they all will wake up to reality when they loose their franchise and the players have to get real jobs at a real salary. American Greed at it's best...

    November 15, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. IFM

    No corp. pays 50% of profits to any employee. greed, greed, greed. I don't watch NBA, I block all NBA cable tv from my family, I live in non NBA city of Seattle. So who cares!

    November 15, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • uohna

      Not because it has not been done before does not mean that it should not happen. Maybe it's time that those who do the work earn the rewards!

      November 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    What a blessing! No NBA for a while clogging up the air waves with these high-paid clowns who can't stay out of trouble and are poor role models for the kids. Pro sports has gone over the top on a whiole lot of stuff; outrageous pay, bad behavior, and high priced admission to even get to see them play in person. Unbridled greed from a bunch of borderline illiterates. Let's hope the public outcry will bring some reality orientation to this picture.

    November 15, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
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    November 15, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
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