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NBA PLAYERS FACE OFF IN NLRB DECERTIFICATION HEARING

     The NLRB will decide in "two to three weeks" whether to
allow a vote by members of the NBPA to decertify the union as
their collective bargaining representative, according to this
morning's WASHINGTON POST.  Attorneys for the NBA, the NBPA and a
group of dissident players met in New York "to debate who is
eligible to vote on decertification and when and how players will
cast ballots if an election takes place, but failed to reach an
agreement."  The NLRB officer who presided over the hearing asked
the three sides to submit briefs on July 14, "making it likely"
that Daniel Silverman, the NLRB's New York regional director,
will announce his decision the following week.  Jeffrey Kessler,
attorney for the 17 players who petitioned the NLRB for
decertification, wants a vote in early August, while the league
and union prefer to hold it during training camps in October.  If
the lockout is still in effect in October, league and union
officials would agree to voting at NLRB offices around the
country (WASHINGTON POST, 7/6).
     SIGN HERE:  While Kessler submitted 180 signatures in
support of the effort, NBA attorney Howard Ganz pointed out that
146 were faxed from agents' offices.  Ganz:  "This proceeding was
commenced under false pretenses.  The players who lent their
names to decertification forms, we believe that evidence shows
that players were sold a bill of goods" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/6).
Kessler said he hopes to have 200 signatures "real soon" (Thomas
Hill, N.Y. POST, 7/6).   NEW YORK PRESS:  The New York media
focused largely on the fact that teammates Patrick Ewing and NBPA
VP Charles Smith were on opposite sides of the dispute.  Shaun
Powell called it "Knick vs. Knick" (NEWSDAY, 7/6).  CNN's Mark
Morgan: "This is not a run-of-the-mill labor struggle.  This pits
players against players" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 7/5).
     COMMENTARY:  SI's "Scorecard":  "That [Simon] Gourdine's
group could have reached an agreement that so many of its
constituents find distasteful shows that they were out of touch
with the people they were representing, a cardinal sin for union
leaders. ... Somebody had better start actively cooperating.  The
first step toward saving the season is having the players decide
what they want and whom they want to get it for them" (SI, 7/10
issue).
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