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. Mike P

    Sally- Yes it is, and congratulations for being one of those people. 50/50 split is racist? How? We are on the outside looking in. How this plays into racism and ignorance in your eyes is because since the owners are white and most players black, then it must be the white guy who is racist. Black folks are never racist. This is about money, period. Sure, more owners could and should be black, but just remember this- Michael Jordan is an owner and on board with thier stance. Must be a trader....

    November 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. johnny popper

    Yawn.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. S

    These no good cheese pirates

    November 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • uck

      tell me about it

      November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • my

      ditto

      November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • huge

      I disagree

      November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dick

      What a shame!

      November 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. cpc65

    I hope neither side hopes to engender sympathy from those of us busting our humps working REAL jobs (some of us more than one) and struggling to make ends meet. Hopefully the fans will speak when it comes to ticket purchases, TV ratings and memorabilia sales when the dust settles, which won't likely be until the next season.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. snowbo

    do these coloreds even know what a union is?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. je

    I use to work as an emt at the stadium where the Jazz play while I was in college. I would have been finincially devasted from this. Every season the NBA and NHL paid my tuition and books because I worked the games. Now I work as an RN. I have no sympathy for the Players nor the Owners. I only feel for the Waitresses, bartendars, valet, vendors and etc. Not only are the students needing that money, but a lot of the ushers and security guards I worked with, were living on fixed incomes and used that money to pay their heating bills in the winter. --–SHAME ON THE NBA FOR BEING SO GREEDY ---

    November 14, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Serg

    So apparently NBA players are like the 99% within the 1%

    November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jake poole

    It's amazing how many people here, have absolutely no clue. The owners are wrong. PERIOD

    November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • IceT

      Yeah, they make all the investment, take all the risk, take all the loss but the owners are wrong .. not a clue

      November 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Craig from Pa.

    Who cares?...Good riddance!

    November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowbog

      we can watch the monkeys at the zoo...at least they are good at listening to the white man

      November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • So What

      Exactly – they don't cure cancer, they don't end world hunger, they aren't fixing the economy. They throw balls into a hoop and for that they get paid millions. Big whoopie.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pcat

    if they'd only let me into the NFL or NBA for one season I'd be made for life..never have to work again

    November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pcat

      I thought I clicked on a CNN DISCUSSION FORUM, not a Ku Klux Klan meeting

      November 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Displeased

      I assume you mean getting paid as a super star. Some of the players for both basketball and football only make about $500,000. Although that's a nice salary, I don't think I'd be set for life after one year.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      Get a free college education, if you choose to get educated, then make 10x what the average person makes and complain and go on strike. They have my sympathy.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mm

    Who cares?!
    There is no place for unions in sports, period! Just feel bad the collateral damage that happens because these big, overgrown, overpaid babies can't get what they want...the little low life guys (vendors, ticket sales, etc.) suffer.
    And, how 'bout all your NBA fans boycott them when they do decide to grace you with their presence again?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. misternomer

    Does it matter if we ever see another NBA game?

    November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowboggg

      yeah its not like we cant go to teh zoo anytime we have the urge to see a bunch of moneys playing around.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. c doc

    Who cares? Most of the players are vastly overpaid children. Is anyone missing the season? I doubt it

    November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. duck

    NBA players don't live in the real world want a huge piece of the pie. They don't want to invest, but want a large return...what a joke...Take a look around, all the people struggling around them and their crying over a few million bucks. I could care less if they played...

    November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jake poole

      of course not, because you think in the hundreds, while they think in the millions. You see, TV compaines aren't paying billions to watch David Stern..They pay Billions to put the players on TV. The players make the NBA...not the other way around

      November 14, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Plexie

      The NBA exists and the players profit. The players do not make the NBA, if this continues the popularity of the NHL and college basketball will increase. Most people realize that that life without the NBA does not mean that they will suffer a premature death.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. crusader12

    Wouldn't it be great if the NBA never came back? Then I wouldn't have to wait for the hockey highlights on sportscenter

    November 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
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