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REFS UNION WON'T VOTE ON NBA PACKAGE; NO NEW TALKS SLATED
Published November 21, 1995
The NBA said it has reached its "negotiating limit" with its locked-out referees and that they are prepared to play out the regular season with replacements, according to the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. NBA Senior VP/Legal & Business Affairs Jeffrey Mishkin made the remarks after announcing that the refs had rejected a five-year offer that included "an initial salary increase of 18.6% and a total of 60% in raises." The refs said the proposal still would not make them the highest paid officials in pro sports, and expressed displeasure the NBA "bypassed the union leadership and sent copies of the deal to every member of the staff, requesting that they vote on it" (Phil Jasner, PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 11/21). CNN's Fred Hickman reported union leadership "has refused to put the latest league proposal for a 10% salary hike over the next five years to a vote." Hickman quoted NBA Commissioner David Stern as saying the union "left us no choice other than to continue our season with new officials who will begin working 3-man crews December 4" ("Sports Tonight," 11/20). Stern was "disappointed" the union chose to reject the deal without having a vote of its membership. No new talks have been scheduled (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/21). THE WOMEN'S GAME: The U.S. Women's National Team is hoping the "momentum from Atlanta will quickly lead to a new era" of women's pro basketball, according to Mark Starr of NEWSWEEK. Besides marketing the team prior to the Olympics, the NBA is expected to help two new leagues scheduled to begin play by next fall. NBA VP/Business Affairs Val Ackerman: "Our goal of making basketball the most popular sport in the world is not limited to the 320 best male players in the U.S." Champion Products VP Matt Mirchin: "When the NBA puts its marketing muscle behind something, it usually becomes quite successful." But Starr writes, despite the corporate involvement, "women's basketball doesn't yet measure up" to the men's game. In fact, Starr believes women's basketball is "getting a boost from middle-aged sportswriters nostalgic for the kind of hoops they grew up with" (NEWSWEEK, 11/27 issue).