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NBPA ENGAGING IN "WAR OF WORDS"
Published July 14, 1995
The memo sent by the NBPA to its members on Wednesday "seeks to convince players that decertifying the union would not, as some agents contend, force the NBA to lift its lockout, but instead would imperil the 1995-96 season," according to Thomas Hill in this morning's N.Y. POST. An earlier quote from NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik was contained in the NBPA memo. Granik, in the memo: "We understand you may have been told that decertification of the [NBPA] will force the league to operate under a system of rules that is even more favorable to players. To the contrary, whether or not the Player's Association is decertified, the NBA will not operate without a system that is fair to both players and owners. Without such a system, there will be no NBA season" (N.Y. POST, 7/14). MEMORANDIS DISSIDENTIA: John Helyar of the WALL STREET JOURNAL reports this morning that the "dissidents" also sent a memo to the players this week, accusing "the union of being in cahoots with management." From the memo, co-signed by Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and other plaintiffs in the anti-trust suit: "Right now, the owners are locking us out, and our Union is helping the owners defend and continue the lockout." According to Helyar, this memo "recites a litany of complaints about the union-negotiated deal, under such headlines as 'Real Free Agency Would Be Destroyed' and 'The End of Large Signing Bonuses.' It concludes with the assertion: 'At a time when the NBA is the most profitable sport in the world, there is no reason for multi-million dollar givebacks'" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/14). DOLLARS AND SENSE: In its memo, the NBPA "said average per team profits on operating revenue had dropped from $7.2 million in 1992-93 to $4.3 million last season, based on audited financial statements provided by the league." The memo also says that "while league revenue was increasing at a annual rate of 8 percent, player compensation increased 20 percent." According to Mark Asher, NBA Senior VP of Legal Affairs Jeffrey Mishkin "said yesterday the league is projecting per-team profits of $2 million on operating income for next season" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/14). PLAYERS SPEAK OUT: In an interview with the ORLANDO SENTINEL, Charles Barkley says, "greed" aside, the current dispute "will get settled." Barkley: "Obviously, we're both making great livings. The owners are greedy and the players are somewhat greedy, but I understand it from both perspectives. ... I think the owners know we have them over a barrel where they have to sign us. I think if they do not pay us when the season starts they will breach our contracts and make everybody unrestricted free agents" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/14). The Sonics' Gary Payton on the notion the new CBA would not allow players to earn a "livable" wage: "People would have to cut their lifestyle, and they'd live like penny pinchers. People have mothers and fathers they want to spoil. We make a lot of money. Don't take that away. We make a lot of money, that is true. But I'm just saying that (owners) make more money. They make billions of dollars. We're making money, but they don't see the other side of the thing. We go out on the floor and make money for them" (SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, 7/14).