Blog Entry

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:49 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 8:00 pm
The ruling Monday by U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson putting a temporary end to the NFL lockout also was, by extension, a victory for the National Basketball Players Association in its ongoing labor negotiation with the NBA. 

In legitimizing the NFL players' move to dissolve their union in the face of the owners' lockout, and granting an injunction to end the lockout pending appeal, Nelson dealt a legal blow to both sports leagues in their efforts to use a lockout as a weapon in collective bargaining. 

"This is a victory for all professional sports unions," said Gabe Feldman, head of the Sports Law Center at Tulane University. 

Top officials with the NBA and NBPA were reading every word of Nelson's opinion Monday, but the upshot for the NBA's labor negotiation was clear and resounding: If the NBPA elects to decertify -- in effect, dissolving the union and forfeiting the ability to collectively bargain contracts and work rules -- then Nelson's ruling will stand as federal precedent rendering moot the NBA's presumed tactic of imposing a lockout. The NBA's collective bargaining agreement expires at 12:01 a.m. on July 1. 

Anticipating a lockout, the NBPA already has collected enough signatures to approve a vote for decertification, sources told Both sides in the NBA labor negotiation have been closely monitoring the NFL labor case, and top NBA negotiators for more than a year have been holding out hope that a decertification by the players would be ruled a "sham" by federal courts. 

But Nelson, the U.S. District Court Judge in Minneapolis, recognized the NFL players' decertification and created a precedent that has conclusive implications for a similar anti-trust lawsuit in the NBA. The NFL quickly announced that it will seek an immediate stay of Nelson's ruling and appeal to a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will render final judgment. 

Thus, the victory for NFL and NBA players "could be short-lived," Feldman said. "If the case stands up on appeal, it gives player unions a significant, though costly, weapon to use as leverage in labor negotiations." 

Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBPA, told that the decision was "a great ruling for the players. But it's like the first round of a 15-round fight." Hunter expects a stay to be granted.

"What it does is put pressure on us to sit down and settle this," Hunter said. "We just want a fair deal."

If NBA owners and players are not able to reach a new collective bargaining agreement by July 1, owners could still impose a lockout. But Nelson's ruling, if upheld on appeal, would make the tactic a moot point. After decertifying, NBA players could file an anti-trust lawsuit in any federal jurisdiction where the NBA does business, but almost certainly would seek out the same court that ruled in the NFL players' favor. 

If you're a lawyer or have too much time on your hands, you can read Nelson's 89-page opinion here.

Over the past week, NBA commissioner David Stern has substantially ratcheted down his rhetoric, saying at a Board of Governors meeting in New York and during a playoff media appearance in Philadelphia that a federal court case and potential National Labor Relations Board dispute "should be avoided." Stern said he and Hunter are in agreement that having their sport's future taken out of their hands and placed under the authority of the NLRB and/or federal courts would not be desirable. 

"The NFL is sort of out there on display," Stern said last Thursday night in Philadelphia. "Here they are, they're profitable, but their future somehow is involved in some combination of court cases and NLRB proceedings. On behalf of the NBA -- and I believe, Billy, on behalf of the union -- (we) understand that's a route that should be avoided." 

The NBA and NBPA now will wait potentially several weeks for the Eighth Circuit to rule on the NFL's appeal. In the meantime, Stern said after the most recent Board of Governors meeting in New York that owners intend to submit a second proposal to the players within the next two weeks. As of Monday, sources said that proposal has yet to be submitted. 

The two sides in the NBA negotiation remain miles apart on key issues ranging from contract lengths and guarantees to a proposal by owners to scrap the soft-cap/luxury tax system and replace it with a hard cap with no exceptions. Owners have internally discussed a willingness to phase in their changes over several years, but that has yet to soften the players' opposition. Owners and players also continue to disagree strongly on the issue of how much money NBA teams are losing. Stern said recently that 22 of the league's 30 teams are expected to lose money this season, to the tune of $300 million. 

NBA owners also seek to change the formula used to determine how much revenue is paid to the players as salary -- known as basketball-relate income, or BRI. Players currently receive 57 percent of BRI, net some expenses, but owners want to net out significantly more expenses before dividing up what's left between players and teams. In their counterproposal to the owners, the NBPA expressed a willingness to discuss a reduction in the players' share of BRI -- an offer that has been met with resistance from the owners, who say it costs too much to generate the revenue players receive.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2011 10:41 pm

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

And by the way, this whole story was ridiculous to say the least.  There was no victory for anybody... what is this clown of a writer talking about?  Like the head of the NBA union said, this was round 1 of a 15 round fight, nobody won anything yet.   The owners are asking for a stay, if they get it we're back to square one.  And even if they don't, they appeal to a higher court...... this thing is far from over.....  
Goodell said it best months ago.  This thing isn't going to be settled in a court room, it's going to be settled while sitting at a table and bargaining until a deal is reached that both sides can live with.    And what do the players win even if the league is forced into another season under the same rules as last year?  No salary cap also = no floor on salaries.   Less unrestricted free agents and free agent movement period.  Owners less willing to spend as much money not knowing what the next CBA is going to look like.   There will be plenty of rookie holdouts as well, you wait and see.  If you think for even one second these owners that are asking for a rookie cap are going to sign these kids to the massive deals rookies used to get you're kidding yourself

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 27, 2011 10:34 pm

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

The owners refuse to provide any type of proof they are in financial trouble which supposedly has created the need for this lockout.  I've taken a side, and it's with the players.

You're wrong. The owners publicly stated they are more then happy to open their books completely.... but for a mutually agreed upon 3rd party and not for the union.  The third party would review EVERYTHING and provide any necessary information to help get a deal done.  The union isn't happy with that.  The union wants to know what each individual team is doing. what they profit, how they spend it, etc    If the owners agreed to let the union open the books the information would become public.... somebody would leak the information and that would be it.  The owners don't want YOU to see their books... why should a fan get to see their books?  Are you a stockholder or something??? 

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: April 27, 2011 7:28 am

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

Great point and I applaud you for bringing it up - regarding the injury possibility with kids. 

On the rest, I respectfully disagree - Like any other business that has failed it's customers, pro sports will eventually fail. 
Yes, there are the morons who will 2nd mortage their homes for season tickets but these types have been eliminated by the new economic reality in the US.  The Age of America is just about over.  Keep in mind that pro sports flourished while the US flourished economicaly.  With us falling to #2 (and eventually lower) due to bing poor governed, many aspects of our lives will be affected.  Disposable income is slowly evaporating for the masses.  This will result in lower attendance in most sports (already has) which in turn will result in failed sports leagues without major changes in how they operate.

Sounds gloomy but it is a reality. 

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 26, 2011 8:23 pm

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

Screw the NBA...the game has become a joke anyway.  I won't even watch that crap until playoff time and I avoid most of the first 2 rounds anyway.

Screw pro sports in general.  Hopefully all leagues that stro=ike, lockout etc. will fail and these entitled bastatds will have to get a real job like I go to every fricking day.

Well screw you too. LOL

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: April 26, 2011 8:22 pm

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

Well screw you. LOL

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: April 26, 2011 4:52 pm

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

I am amazed at some of the anomosity towards the players on this board.  1 person feels like the players should get a "real" job.  It always makes me wonder what would they do in they were good enough to play professional sports.  Lets be honest.  Its the same thing the average working stiff does just on a higher level.  The players are still employees and will never make anywhere near what the business owners make.  Rightfully so because the business owners are putting up the money to make the business run.  Instead of hating on the players how about applauding their ability to work doing what they love to do? No one holds a gun to your head and makes you watch the games on TV or buy season tickets.  Guess what?  If no one watched it  there would be no league at all or players to hate on that make more money than you. 

Since: Jul 29, 2008
Posted on: April 26, 2011 12:06 pm

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

LOL @ you people. People in here are whining about professional sports being greedy. They are saying that they are DONE with pro sports blah blah blah. Wahhhhhhhhh! You guys are full of BS. You will still come back and watch the NFL. You are just talking out of your butt. I don't give a rat ass about what is going on between players and owners. I just want to see them strike a deal and get back to playing. I am sure most fans feel the same. Don't give me "I won't watch football ever again" BS. You and I know it ain't true

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: April 26, 2011 11:17 am

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

I do see alot of wishful thinking and frustration on most of these posts.  I cant say that I
disagree with any of you.  However, when either of these leagues finally do get back to
after a lengthy work stoppage, the fans will still come back in droves.  It is easy to type
how you are finished with all of the greed of millionaires and billionaires while they are
in their current dispute.  It is something completely different when that dispute is over.

I dont have an issue with an athlete making 10 million a year or even alittle above that.
However, that number was left in the dust along time ago by the top players in every league.
Every year when a big name comes up for free agency in any league, the owners and players
come up with an even bigger number than most fans could have ever imagine being reached.
A-Rods huge contract set the bar in baseball.  The top QB's in football.  Just this past off
season, I heard Irsay of the Colts proclaiming that Manning will be the top paid player in
the game.  How is this not counter productive when it comes to a labor dispute in how much
money teams are losing?  Puhols is gonna get paid by someone to the tune of 30 million a
year.  Without anything in place.  These numbers are going to continue going up as they
always have.  What happens when the next top 10 player of all times contract is up.  Troy
Tulowitzki will command a pretty penny when he hits free agency as some idiot owner will
be falling all over himself to throw a kings ransom at the biggest fish in the sea.  He will
then hike up the prices yet again to cover that. 

Every work stoppage has pissed off the fans every time.  Yet every time we keep coming back
even though we said we never would.  Baseball nearly ruined itself with its last one and cancelling
of the World Series.  Yet when it sold its soul and turned a blind eye to PED's and mind blowing
home runs, the fans were back in record numbers.  The NFL hasn't been put in this position and
with its popularity at an all time high, probably won't have to go to such lengths in order to win
back its appeal to the average fan.  In the end, it is the average fan and not the die hard that
keeps these leagues afloat.  Every league has its die hard.  The average fan is the one that
decides during the week that he/she might take in a game.  The die hard, if he/she doesn't
already have season tickets, has their minds made up that they will be going and has planned
accordingly.  When the NHL lost the average fan, it set that league back for several years and
still is yet to recover as it is broadcasting its games on a second rate network that most dont
even know exists unless told so by a die hard.   One can only hope that the NBA, MLB and the
NFL would suffer such a fate.

Since: Apr 26, 2011
Posted on: April 26, 2011 11:00 am

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

The more money the players get , the more it costs you and me, the average fan. Rookie , high draft choices especially make way to much money. And come on 20 million for a star player, even the best at his position is way to much money for anyone. Lets get real. The average person has trouble affording to attend games. The owners are all billionaires but does that mean they should just let the players keep pumping up their revenue streams for the players at the expense of the average Joe? Look around, kids dont admire sports figures as much as they once did. This is in part because its to expensive for kids to attend games live. They need to find some middle ground and fast

Since: Sep 19, 2008
Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:27 am

NFL ruling a victory for NBA players

@minn - I understand your frustration.  I feel the same way about professional sports in general.  All of the players make too much money and whine about not being able to feed their kids (see L. Spreewell).  Players and owners alike are all millionaires and they all want more money.  If more people took your stance and decided to boycott the NFL/NBA then they would have to change but like Bennie said there will be another person ready to buy those tickets, jerseys and beers that you are passing up.  It is sad but true.  I feel like boycotting professional sports right along with you but until the masses start to feel that way I'm afraid it will all be for naught.  These idiots that side with the players are wrong.  These idiots that side with the owners are wrong.  Neither side is right.  They are both money hungry and they only care about themselves.  The game doesn't matter anymore, it is all about $$$$$$$ and it is sad.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or