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Players union to host meeting in Los Angeles Friday

Oct 11, 2011, 11:10 PM EDT

Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter AP

The NBA players union cannot win the public relations war — the fans will side with the owners, especially after the blunder-filled “let us play” twitter campaign Monday — and their only hope of salvaging what they have of the last labor deal is to stay unified.

So far that has gone well — with the NBA’s stars leading the way the union is not breaking ranks. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have made pleas with the players to stay unified, and the NBA rank-and-file loved Dwyane Wade snapping back at David Stern in a meeting a couple weeks back.

To keep that going, there will be a players meeting in Los Angeles on Friday, with union head Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher flying out, according to Chris Broussard at ESPN.

The union had originally scheduled this meeting for Monday, but Hunter postponed it to stay and negotiate with David Stern and the owners.

The players have handled this lockout pretty well, keeping their heads down. They are holding firm saying they want 53 percent of basketball related income. They are in a tough spot because the players never win in the minds of the public, whether they are in the right or not (and I think they are). We don’t relate to their salary, we don’t understand why you don’t show up for work when you make that much money.

But Monday when the players started tweeting “let us play” they came off as having a “woe is me” attitude. It fell flat. You can’t do that when you make millions and many Americans are worried about how to pay their health insurance bill. If it really was about the basketball and not the money, you could take the owners last offer and still make more money than 99 percent of Americans. It’s about the money. Own that.

So long as the union can stay together, they can get more money. But they may have to go to the brink of losing a full season to do it.

  1. gugurich - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    The PR battle is irrelevant. What are displeased fans going to do? Heckle the players into taking a deal they don’t want? Maybe their endorsements will be affected in the short-term but only a few select player even make significant endorsement money in the first place and the endorsements should come back later.

    I’ve been puzzled by this public relations score keeping. What difference does it make if David Stern shrewdly wins the PR battle? The NBA is not a voter elected league.

    I’m puzzled why the league even wants to paint the players in a bad light. One, it won’t aid their negotiations and two, it hurts their bottom line if fans are turned off and don’t tune in or buy tickets and merchandise. Their hurting their products, the players.

  2. goforthanddie - Oct 12, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    I think it’s fantastic that guys like Kobe who have made hundreds of millions are standing strong in holding out. Somebody needs to be there to protect the 1% of players who theoretically earn top-level deals.

  3. slowclyde86 - Oct 12, 2011 at 7:18 AM

    The players have stayed together thus far? Wow, really impressive. The fractures between the few megastars (“come on guys, let’s stick together”) and everyone else (“um, I can’t pay my mortgage”) will show very quickly as checks get missed. It is inevitable. It may not be fair, but the owners will get most everything they want.

  4. savocabol1 - Oct 12, 2011 at 7:45 AM

    The PR battle means zip zero, nothing. What the fans think means nothing in these meetings. Please stop acting like it does.

  5. dcipher80 - Oct 12, 2011 at 9:03 AM

    I don’t think the general public cares about BRI but I think most real fans are for a hard cap (more competitive balance), shorter contracts (an injury (Brandon Roy) or an unforeseeable bad decision (Tracy McGrady) and your team is set back for years in the current system), and revenue sharing. All these things benefit the quality of the game. Do you think the NFL would have to buy a team from one of it’s owners (like the NBA did with the Hornets)? No, of course not, because even poorly run organizations (a la the bengals) are profitable and occasionally competitive. It’s been a decade or more since some teams have been competitive in the NBA (e.g. The. Clippers) and the “elite teams” stay the same from year to year in the NBA which discourages some fan bases from supporting their own team. Be forward thinking and give us a better product and we’ll support you. Not every one roots for NY or LA. I don’t relate to either side, owners or players, I just want better games nightly and a real opportunity at each team enjoying relative success.

    On a side note, why are the players so anti a hard cap? It may restrict where a player can get money, but the good players will still get paid.

  6. thetooloftools - Oct 12, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    No “the super stars have stayed together so far”. See, none of the other players want to break ranks for fear they’ll be repercussions once (if) the season starts. Nice to see Wade and James leading the charge to stay unified when they both have MAX contracts which won’t even exist anymore after that stunt (collusion) they (and Bosh) pulled. How two faced can you get? Wade, James, and Bosh are to blame for a lot of this mess only they won’t own it.

  7. sdelmonte - Oct 12, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    I always back the unions. Always.

    • slowclyde86 - Oct 12, 2011 at 10:35 AM

      Ok. I’ll bite. I realize your elaborate rational was clearly articulated, but, for us slow folks in the audience—care to elaborate? Because unions of late have been great for consumers and are, clearly, never myopic or in the wrong.

  8. cosanostra71 - Oct 12, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Sorry to hear that sdelmonte

  9. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Even if the difference between what the players want and what the owners want is $400 million, which I think is higher than the actual number, don’t these idiots on both sides realize that with a $4 billion dollar a year pie, they are going to take 10 years to make up that $400 million difference? They are going to lose a season, and both compromise somewhere in between, and end up spending the next 20 years trying to make up the lost revenue of the 2011-12 season.

    It is truly pathetic any way you look at it.

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