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AGENTS CLAIM THEY HAVE THE VOTES TO DECERTIFY
Published June 23, 1995
Members of the NBPA's Agents Advisory Committee "said las night they were on the verge of having the necessary signatures to officially decertify the players' union," according to Jackie MacMullan in this morning's BOSTON GLOBE. Agent Arn Tellem: "We're knocking on heaven's door. We're real close." According to Tellem, one vote over 50% of the total union membership would decertify the NBPA. The union officially has 324 members, but with the injured list that number could be as much as 350. Tellem: "Either way, I think we've got it." League owners meet in New York this morning to put the new CBA to a vote, while the 27 player reps meet in Chicago to do the same. Sources in the league office also said that if the new agreement is voted down by the players, "owners will likely lock out the players by July 1," when the moratorium expires (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/23). WILD WEEKEND: In Philadelphia, Frank Lawlor writes, "Simply put, the league could have a ratified contract, a revolt, or both on its hands by sundown." Agent Keith Glass: "It's going to be one of the more interesting days in the history of the league. It's just the wildest thing I've ever seen, and I've been doing this for 14 years" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/23). In New York, Murray Chass writes the NBA "has plunged into a struggle that is destined to sully its pristine image. The conflict is unprecedented in sports labor history" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/23). MORE FUEL FOR THE FIRE: In Washington, Mark Asher cites "sources close to the disgruntled players" and reports that they may file an unfair labor practices charge against the NBPA over "possible irregularities" with player reps. The sources said at least two player reps who signed decertification notices -- the Mavs' Popeye Jones and the Clippers' Pooh Richardson -- were excluded from a Wednesday conference call "and may be replaced for today's vote." Stu Ginsburg, spokesperson for the NBPA, denied that any player reps were excluded "on purpose" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/23). FROM THE UNION: NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine: "The idea that this course of action of 'We think we don't like this deal so let's close and lock the doors of the union,' it seems to me to be somewhat of an extreme kind of pursuit" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 6/22). Gourdine, on the luxury tax: "In negotiations, you have to give up some things" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 6/23). NBPA President Buck Williams: "We felt this was the best deal we were able to obtain. It's a little more restrictive, but in terms of sheer dollars, it's progress" (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 6/23). Williams to the OREGONIAN: "If the players allow the agents to decertify the union, I think it's a sad day in sports. The agents work for the players. The players don't work for the agents" (Kerry Eggers, Portland OREGONIAN, 6/23). FROM THE LEAGUE: NBA Commissioner David Stern "said just as some players feel uncomfortable with the deal, some owners aren't entirely happy either." Stern: "This is a very expensive deal and it puts the greatest amount of pressure on the small-grossing clubs" (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST, 6/23). Stern addressed decertification in the N.Y. TIMES: "Obviously, I don't quite understand all of the ramifications other than we ultimately need somebody to negotiate with" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 6/23).