SBD/November 10, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

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  • NBA Lockout Watch, Day 133: Sides Continue Talks After "Significant Progress" Made

    NBA owners and players yesterday made "significant progress" toward a CBA that would end the lockout, according to sources cited by Adrian Wojnarowski of YAHOO SPORTS. Sources said that with the NBPA "agreeable to a 50-50 split of revenue, the sides also made progress on three of the five system issues that union officials said needed to be resolved to complete a deal." The players are "determined to keep system issues which allow them freedom to move to luxury-tax teams, among other issues involving the tax and escrow systems." The negotiations lasted "more than 12 hours," and will resume today at noon ET. An NBA official said, "We can get there in the next day or two. But it’s still a volatile process, and egos can still get in the way. ... But there’s a lot of reason to be hopeful." Wojnarowski notes NBA Commissioner David Stern "has some ability to negotiate through the deal points of the system issues, but he also has a group of owners largely split over how much they need to cede to the players on system issues." There is a "significant faction that thinks Stern can get a deal done without yielding much more to the players." But one ownership source said, "There’s not enough of (the hardline owners). Most are not thrilled with the current deal but would take it." If the talks "break down in the next 24-48 hours, agents are prepared to move rapidly toward decertification of the union or a variation of it, disclaimer of interest." Wojnarowski notes Stern had "vowed to 'reset' the owners' proposal to a worse offer if a deal wasn’t reached" by yesterday's 5:00pm ET deadline. Stern after yesterday's talks said, "The clock is stopped. And we’re trying to see if there’s a reason why we can get something to go back to our respective sides with" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/10). Stern said the latest offer was not pulled at the deadline because the league was "trying to demonstrate our good faith." He added that the "understanding was the offer potentially would be pulled at the end of this series of negotiations, whenever that might be" (AP, 11/9).

    IN THIS CORNER... A league source yesterday said that a deal "appeared to be in sight for the first time since the work stoppage began," as the union "appeared to have realized Wednesday’s small-group meeting was likely its best chance" to end the lockout (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 11/10). In San Antonio, Mike Monroe reports yesterday's talks "involved smaller groups than last weekend’s sessions." Stern, NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver, Spurs Owner & NBA Labor Relations Committee Chair Peter Holt, NBA Exec VP & General Counsel Rick Buchanan and NBA Senior VP & Deputy General Counsel Dan Rube represented the league. NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter, Lakers G and NBPA President Derek Fisher, Wizards F and NBPA VP Maurice Evans, NBPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler and Ron Klempner, and union economist Kevin Murphy represented the players (MYSANANTONIO.com, 11/10).

    Stern said there is a "copious" list of
    issues still remaining to be resolved
    IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Stern after the talks said there is a "copious" list of issues left to resolve. He added, "There are many other issues, many other issues of importance." Fisher said there was "not as much (flexibility) as we'd like" from league negotiators on the system issues (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/10). Fisher added, "The fact that we don’t have a deal obviously let’s you know that there’s still a lot of work to be done on the system." Stern said, "I would not read into this optimism or pessimism. We just continue to negotiate as we continue to negotiate. We’re not failing, and we’re not succeeding." In N.Y., Howard Beck notes league officials "are resistant to trading dollars for free-agency rules." Silver said, "The competitive issues are independent of the economic issues." Beck notes any deal "will almost certainly be predicated on a 50-50 split of revenues." One source said, "If they’re going to get a deal, it’s going to be at 50-50. Ownership is willing to lose the season rather than go any higher" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/10). Fisher "denied the union was officially at 50-50." He said, "We stated an openness and willingness to come off our number and come closer to [a] deal on economics. We’re willing to move on but never actually said here’s a 50-50 system." In N.Y., Marc Berman notes if a deal "is reached today, there is possibility of a 76-game season." The possibility for games in November "has been lost and if negotiations fall apart today, Stern will be ready [to] cancel another two weeks from Dec. 1 to Dec. 14th." Stern has repeatedly said that the league "would need 30 days from the time of a tentative agreement to opening night" (N.Y. POST, 11/10). USA TODAY's J. Michael Falgoust notes if the owners "follow through with their intention of dropping the offer to players to 47% if an agreement isn't reached in this latest round of talks, that likely would trigger a domino effect that could end any chance for a 2011-12 season" (USA TODAY, 11/10).

    WORK LEFT TO DO: SI.com's Zach Lowe notes there "remain doubts in some corners about commissioner David Stern’s ability to sell a deal with the current general parameters to a majority of the league’s owners" (SI.com, 11/10). TRUE HOOP's Henry Abbott cites sources as saying that both sides "know the final agreement will be at 50/50," and any "suggestion otherwise is rhetoric." Abbott writes, "The NBA's commitment to 47, however, is much like the players' commitment to 53. Temporary, political, a delusion" (ESPN.com, 11/10). In L.A., Mark Medina wrote if the two sides "fail to reach the deal, the blame falls entirely on the owners." The union "may have staunchly rejected the owners' proposal to accept a range of 49% to 51% in basketball-related income, but they indicated they are open to accepting a 50-50 split in said revenue." Medina wrote, "Considering how much both sides had clashed on this issue, that alone is progress. It also reveals just how much the players union has already conceded, relenting from 57% to 53% to 52.5% to 52%, all while the owners kept asking for more and more" (LATIMES.com, 11/9). In New Jersey, Ian Nazzone writes the lockout has "been a circus, filled with regrettable and embarrassing moments." Even if "an agreement is reached plenty of damage has been done, maybe more than the entire NBA realizes" (Bergen RECORD, 11/10). ESPN’s J.A. Adande said, “What’s kept the season from happening has more been the owners driven by their desire to extract the maximum from the players.” Adande added, “All they want is the most money possible. They don’t want an NBA season.” He said of the players, “The fact that they didn’t raise the possibility of decertification until this late in the game was a strategic error on their part.” ESPN’s Jackie MacMullen said, “You cannot let the players off scot-free on this. The players themselves held up these negotiations because at various times they weren’t even united” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 11/9). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said the “owners dictate when this thing is going to be over” (“PTI,” ESPN, 11/9).

    NOT A FAN
    : Basketball HOFer Rick Barry said Tuesday on KNBR-AM, "I'm not a big fan of Billy Hunter. I think Billy Hunter is one of the worst things that happened to the NBA. Yes he got them an unbelievable deal last time but he also was responsible for the lockout in the late 90's which cost the players one third of their salaries basically and got nothing for it. The same thing is happening here." Barry added, "What they're doing is they're making a situation which is a bad situation worse by standing firm. Standing firm for what? You're standing firm to get nothing. All you're trying to do is minimize the losses that you have to accept in order for there to be a deal put in place" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/9).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA
  • Slotting System, Free Agent Compensation Remaining Issues For MLB Labor Agreement

    Negotiations in MLB’s "stalled labor talks have taken ‘a step forward’ this week," according to a source cited by Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. A second source said that it is “possible a deal could be completed this week.” However, another source “described the chances of an agreement this week as only about 50-50, saying that the sides had made what appeared to be similar progress in the past, only to get stuck on other issues.” Owners and players “have been stalled for weeks over management's push for a hard slotting system for amateur draft picks.” The MLBPA has “adamantly resisted hard slotting, so the sides have been exploring alternatives based on ‘luxury taxes’ or other incentives designed to keep spending on the draft within more rigid limitations.” The other major issue that is “still unresolved is a change in compensation for premier free agents.” The union “is pressing for a new system that would either no longer require teams to give up first-round draft picks as compensation for signing a top free agent, or would like to reduce the number of players who would qualify as ‘Type A’ free agents” (ESPN.com, 11/9).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, MLB
  • FIFA Reverses Course, Allows England Players To Wear Poppies On Uniform

    The poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those who have died in the line of duty

    FIFA “bowed to popular pressure last night by allowing England players to wear poppies on their black armbands this weekend after personal interventions” by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William, according to Ashling O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. FIFA’s rules “prevent symbols with political, religious or commercial connotations from being displayed on official uniforms and equipment.” FIFA by letting the players wear poppies on their armbands “allows the game’s world governing body to preserve the letter of its law while acknowledging the feeling in Britain.” Cameron in a letter to FIFA President Sepp Blatter wrote, “This as an act of national remembrance. … I can assure you that there are no political connotations whatsoever to wearing a poppy.” In addition, Prince William wrote a “strongly worded letter” to Blatter. He “expressed his dismay at the poppy ban and asked for ‘an exception in this special circumstance’” (LONDON TIMES, 11/10). In London, Jamie Jackson writes the move is “understood to have been made after discussions involving” England FA General Secretary Alex Horne and FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke. Cameron previously had said that he “would support the England team if they defied FIFA by wearing poppies on their shirts” (GUARDIAN, 11/10).

    SETTING A BAD PRECEDENT? In London, James Lawton writes under the header, “FIFA Should Not Have Caved In. The U-Turn Is Complete Poppycock.” Lawton: “What happens when another nation, with its own idea of what constitutes righteous national pride, decides it feels strongly about a certain issue, and the thing it wants to commemorate is for a jaundiced neighbour the recalling of some shameful political or military horror?” (London INDEPENDENT, 11/10).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, FIFA, Soccer
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