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NBA, REFEREES SCHEDULE NEGOTIATING SESSION FOR TOMORROW
Published November 14, 1995
The NBA and its referees, who have been locked out since October 1 over salary differences, have scheduled a negotiating session for tomorrow, according to Phil Jasner of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. The NBA claims to have offered a five- year contract that would make the officials the highest paid in pro sports, but the refs deny that citing a comparison with the NHL. Mike Mathis, lead negotiator for the referees union, acknowledges that under the NBA's proposal, the most experienced refs would earn more than their NHL counterparts. But Mathis also claims most of his colleagues would be earning $32,000- 40,000 less. NBA Senior VP Jeffrey Mishkin claims Mathis is basing his figures on Canadian dollars. Mishkin, on the refs' request for 20% hikes in each year of a three-year deal: "We also have the best marketing people in the world, the best licensing people. They're getting 6 percent raises. We're offering an average of 7.5 percent over five years, with an initial raise of 15 percent" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 11/14). ENTER EASY DAVE: Commissioner David Stern "actually may partake" in the New York meeting, according to Peter Vecsey. Stern, who vowed to get a deal this week: "I don't call myself Easy David for nothing. I'm always prepared to give away some more of the owners' money." Mathis, whom Vecsey reports is battling a "potential breakaway faction" within the union as well as the league, views any Stern involvement as a "positive" (N.Y. POST, 11/14). Mathis: "If I see David Stern, then I'll have a much better feeling that they're ready to make a deal" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/14). "CRISIS" POINT? In Toronto, Bill Harris writes the NBA has officially reached a "crisis stage" over the performance of the replacement refs. He reports there is a group of owners "at the breaking point, pressuring the NBA to get a deal done soon" (TORONTO SUN, 11/14). Charles Barkley kept up his criticism of the replacements: "They've got to get off their ass up there in New York and get it done ... They're fighting over hundreds of thousands of dollars, maybe even a couple of million. The NBA is a billion dollar business and it's not fair" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 11/13).