GOURDINE SAYS HE'S PLEASED WITH TURNOUT AT NBPA MEETINGS
The NBPA concluded its series of regional meetings yesterday
in Baltimore, and union head Simon Gourdine says "he was more
than pleased with the overall turnout of 99 players during the
whirlwind 12 day tour," according to Richard Justice in today's
WASHINGTON POST. Gourdine: "We accomplished what we set out to
do. ... The groups were small enough that guys could follow up
their questions with whatever was on their mind." Four players
attended the Baltimore meeting: Dikembe Mutombo, Tom Gugliotta,
Danny Ferry and Brent Price. Mutombo: "I think I'll vote for
it. In life, you're not going to get everything you want."
Gugliotta: "I feel a lot better after talking to Simon. I've
been so out of touch this summer. We've got to accept the fact
that we didn't get everything we wanted. But I can't see
forfeiting the season or even a month of it over the
differences." Gourdine: "The loyal opposition has put a lot of
information out there. Some things were an easy rebuttal.
Others I couldn't sugarcoat. When raises go from 30 percent to
20 percent, there are not too many things we gave up. We also
think there are enough increases in revenues and a broadening of
the deal that it makes sense. There are a lot of things the
players should feel good about" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/29).
SHAQ BACKS DEAL: Shaquille O'Neal, in a statement
yesterday: "The new collective bargaining agreement may not be
that great for the players, but I support it because we have to
learn from what happened in baseball. We owe it to the fans,
sponsors, and ourselves to not lose any of the season. Accepting
the compromise is the only way to ensure doing that" (Tim Povtak,
ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/29).
US, TOO!: Charles Barkley: "Ninety percent of the players
cannot afford the strike. I'm blessed. I'm one of the other 10
percent. I don't have to work another day in my life.
Realistically, I don't want to leave those other players out
there. I think the deal will be accepted. We've got to try to
do what's best for the majority of the players." Sixers' Jerry
Stackhouse: "Everybody wants a check in November. Some guys are
undecided and some guys are against it, but my gut feeling is
that it's going to go through" (Joe Juliano, PHILADELPHIA
INQUIRER, 8/29). Former Spur Terry Cummings: "I see the union
as a Rolls Royce with maybe a dent in it. You don't throw away
the car because of the dent, you just fix it. ... If they
decertify, they will have chaos" (Glenn Rogers, SAN ANTONIO
EXPRESS NEWS, 8/29). Maverick Player Rep/NBPA VP Jim Jackson:
"I'm a union man. There's some things [in the deal] I don't
like. There's some questions I asked [during negotiations]. I
feel like we gave up some things. But that's part of the
negotiation process. It's give and take. I think we negotiated
the best deal we could" (Brad Townsend, DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
8/29). Raptor John Salley: "I think the deal works and I think
we should support it. That's what I'm telling the players I talk
to. Everybody's making money. This deal will make us partners"
(Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 8/29).
COUNT ME OUT: According to today's TORONTO STAR, Keith
Jennings "is considering voting for decertification" -- a
reported switch. Jennings: "Patrick and Michael and Rex Chapman
are saying the deal is not as good as the NBA makes it out to be,
and I'm starting to see that. They have the financial analysts
and the lawyers and they've really done their homework" (Michael
Clarkson, TORONTO STAR, 8/29).
WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU: A number of agents remain skeptical
about NBA Commissioner David Stern's vow not to play the season
without a new CBA. Mark Fleisher said Stern "is completely
bluffing." Bill Duffy: "If the union is decertified, then chaos
would reign for a little while. But it would go to court, a
settlement would be reached and the odds are great that there
would be a season that starts on time" (Jake Curtis, SAN
FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 8/29).
YOUR CAR, SIR: NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik said
yesterday "that each team has been approved to send a car service
to pick up players without transportation to the NLRB offices in
their respective areas and, in some cases, a plane ticket to
fetch them to vote." Granik: "We could have 75 percent of the
players' support, but if only 25 percent vote, we'll lose" (Mike
Wise, N.Y. TIMES, 8/29). Decertification balloting begins
tomorrow at over 45 NLRB offices throughout the U.S. (THE DAILY).