REFS RANK-AND-FILE READY TO MAKE A DEAL WITH NBA?
NBA officials will meet with representatives of the league's
locked-out refs on Wednesday in New York. According to CNN's
Nick Charles, a source said "a lot of referees" think the
league's latest offer was not a bad deal. Charles: "If Mike
Mathis, the union chief, doesn't get it done Wednesday, they
might take matters into their own hands" ("Sports Tonight,"
11/27). Tomorrow's session will be the first since the refs
rejected a November 20 league offer of an immediate 18.6% raise
and a 60% hike over the life of the five-year deal. Mathis said
the two sides are "less than $20,000 a year per team apart." The
NBA puts the difference at about $2-3M per team per year. If
there is no agreement by Monday, the league will add a third ref
to the replacement crews (Roscoe Nance, USA TODAY, 11/28).
HARD LINE: In Atlanta, Ailene Voisin notes the possibility
of "mutiny" within the ranks of the refs' union. She reports,
"Sounding remarkably similar to the complaints uttered last
summer by the Ewing-Michael Jordan faction, the rank-and-file is
questioning its leadership and becoming increasingly agitated by
the hardball tactics of chief negotiator Mike Mathis." Ref
Derrick Stafford: "Mike decides on the proposals by himself, and
that's wrong. ... We've been quiet, but no longer. This week
[Mathis] gets it done or he's out" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/28).
ANOTHER VIEW: In San Antonio, veteran ref Jimmy Clark said
union members are united. Clark: "We really would like to hear
what all the players and owners think. If they all believe that
we are wanting the moon, then maybe we should re-evaluate our
position, not think about sitting out the season. But I don't
believe we are asking for the moon" (Glenn Rogers, SAN ANTONIO