MLB owners' labor negotiating committee will hold a
conference call today. Rockies Owner Jerry McMorris said the
committee will meet at the All-Star game next month, "then resume
talks" with the players. McMorris, Red Sox CEO John Harrington
and Royals CEO David Glass are expected to comprise the
"bargaining team." McMorris said negotiations with players will
resume "definitely in July" (AP/Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 6/30).
Two pieces this morning examine baseball's low attendance and how
the lack of a CBA is in some way responsible. Allan Barra, in
the WALL STREET JOURNAL: "What is remarkable, however, is that
attendance this year isn't lower than it is, given that another
strike would render the games fans are watching now meaningless.
And don't kid yourself: in the absence of a Basic Agreement
between players and owners, a strike looms as a real possibility"
(WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/30). In Philadelphia, Lynn Zinser
writes, "No one is going to fully invest their emotions in
baseball until they are reasonably sure they won't have the rug
pulled out from under them. As it is, the next World Series
seems as endangered as the last one" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS,
The CFL and its Players Association announced yesterday that
they have agreed on a one-year CBA. Details of the agreement
were not released and are pending ratification of the union and
CFL board. CFL Commissioner Larry Smith: "There haven't been
many labor negotiations in sports recently that have been
harmonious. We scored a touchdown." The league will apparently
keep its requirement of 20 Canadian players on each Canadian
team, with the U.S. teams continuing to have no quota (GLOBE &
"NBA owners will lock out their players at midnight tonight
if they have neither ratified a new collective bargaining
agreement approved by the owners nor ceased efforts to decertify
the union and sue the league," according to sources cited by Lacy
Banks in Chicago. The NBA declined to confirm or deny. A
lockout "would constitute the first work stoppage in the 49-year
history of the league." One GM "said the lockout could be the
league's counterattack against the players for filing for
decertification of their union and for filing the antitrust suit
against the league" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/30).
ALL THAT JAZZ: Jazz Owner Larry Miller told KISN-Radio in
Salt Lake City that he believed there would be a lockout.
Miller, whose comments were picked up by the wires and CNN and
ESPN sports reports: "I really think that tomorrow at midnight
we'll have our first work stoppage in the NBA, barring unforeseen
development. If the players continue down their path, they are
taking us exactly down the road baseball and hockey went down"
(WASHINGTON POST, 6/30).
TALKS GO ON: NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBPA Exec Dir
Simon Gourdine "met for four hours yesterday in New York in an
effort to jump-start labor negotiations that ended last week when
the players refused to ratify an agreement that included a rookie
salary cap and luxury tax," according to Richard Justice in
Washington. "Neither side would comment on the negotiations"
(WASHINGTON POST, 6/30). The owners' negotiating team gave the
players "their latest contract proposal plus a request that the
union cease decertification efforts and end an antitrust lawsuit
that, owners feel, is interfering with negotiations," according
to the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik:
"We have not heard from the union leadership. And until we do,
we feel it is inappropriate to comment" (Lacy Banks, CHICAGO SUN-
TIMES, 6/30). Gourdine: "We agreed to get together in seven to
10 days" (USA TODAY, 6/30).
STEP IN AND TAKE THE CHARGE? The NLRB yesterday "announced
it was investigating whether the Federal lawsuit filed by seven
dissident players against the NBA Wednesday was an attempt to
circumvent the board's jurisdiction." Daniel Silverman, Dir of
the NLRB's New York office: "This has to do with whether the
NLRB should decide if the union is the bargaining representative
or is it appropriate for that to be resolved in the District
Court." Jeffrey Kessler, the attorney representing the suing
players: "I don't think there's any dispute between us and the
NLRB. We've explained to them in great detail what we were
seeking in the antitrust court. ... In this case, the players are
exercising both rights [labor and antitrust] that are independent
but parallel." Silverman said he would decide in "a matter of
days" whether or not to recommend to NLRB General Counsel Fred
Feinstein that he seek authority to block the players' suit "as
it relates to a league lockout." In addition, because union and
league officials met yesterday, the dissident players filed an
unfair labor practices charge against the league (N.Y. TIMES,
TV COVERAGE: ESPN's Keith Olbermann, on lockout talk: "The
owners of the New Jersey Devils would be embarrassed by the
timing of this" ("SportsCenter," 6/29). CNN's "Sports Tonight"
led with the NBA labor story (CNN, 6/29).