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First word from today’s union meeting: some players ready to cave to owners’ demands

Oct 14, 2011, 6:22 PM EDT

Billy Hunter AP

We interrupt your otherwise barren, locked out NBA programming to bring a minor update from the Players Union meeting in Los Angeles today. JaVale McGee was one of apparently few players that attended today’s meeting, and spoke with SI.com‘s Sam Amick on his way out. Here are Amick’s tweets from L.A.:

Wizards’ JaVale McGee had another meeting 2 go 2. On way out out, says “Everybody knows we’ve got 2 get more people 2 come to the meetings.”

That, in itself, isn’t great news for Billy Hunter and the union. With David Stern puffing up his chest and imposing arbitrary deadlines all over the place, it’s more important than ever that all of the players are on the same page and working to maintain their collective stance. Lockouts breed dissension. It’s natural that with cashflow stopped and games being stricken from the schedule that the players side would get antsy, but meetings like this can help to clarify and reinforce the union’s message. That function was still served, but only to the apparently limited number of players who actually bothered to show.

More McGee: “There’s definitely some guys in there saying that they’re ready to fold, but the majority are willing to stand strong.”

This is nothing that both we and the owners didn’t already know; there will be players who just want to get the damn thing done already, who wear their t-shirts just like everyone else but slide closer and closer to the breaking point. That’s expected and natural. What’s not expected is that McGee would come right out and say it. Even knowing that JaVale McGee is JaVale McGee, this was a ridiculously foolish soundbite, and one that very clearly and directly betrays the interests of the NBPA. Smooth move, JaVale…unless you’re actually among the “some players,” and are ready to fold, in which case this was a surprisingly subtle and clever act of sabotage.

UPDATE (6:38 PM EST): Well, it didn’t take too long for JaVale McGee to hilariously try to issue a public dismissal. Shortly after reports from multiple journalists in L.A. began making the rounds, McGee tweeted the following:

I never said anyone is ready to fold! Media always wanna turn it!

Good one, JaVale. These aren’t reporters merely jotting down notes hurriedly on a notepad; there are any number of audio recordings of McGee saying those exact words. Those reporting McGee’s comments are among the most trusted in the business, and yet he still tries to discredit them with one of the oldest — and most outdated — tricks in the athlete’s PR book.

Another pertinent tweet on the subject came from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Player who attended NBPA meeting in Los Angeles texts: “Don’t believe (JaValle) McGee.”

Take from that what you will.

UPDATE (7:04 PM EST): Just in case there was any doubt, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times has posted the audio from McGee’s press scrum.

  1. yournuts - Oct 14, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Cave? they should kiss the owners feet to have this kind of job. Where else can they get money like this legally?

    • mytthor - Oct 15, 2011 at 5:42 AM

      The owners do not pay the players. The fans pay the owners to watch the players play, and the owners take the money, which is paid to them SOLELY for the purpose of watching the players play, and the owners then give 57% of that money to the players. Except they feel that it should be under 50%. The owners don’t create and provide the job for the players. It’s the other way around.

  2. dysraw1 - Oct 14, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    well people pay to these ballplayers, they are the product. there are billions being made from cable alone. but i guess if your boss told you to take a pay cut youd kiss his feet

    • berto55 - Oct 14, 2011 at 8:16 PM

      Yep, if my boss told me I could only make $10 Million a year, I would kiss his feet (and buy a keyboard that the apostrophe works on).

    • yournuts - Oct 14, 2011 at 8:16 PM

      Why are you so worried about cable deals? 20 million isn’t enough for your GREEDY ASS? The Owners pay all the bills and give a TREMENDOUS SALARY and offer 50% and the players refuse? Excuse me the owners OWN the team. The players can go play somewhere else. Let them find someone who will pay them 20 million to wash cars, teach school, become a policeman or firefighter. The problem here is THERE GREEDY.

  3. basketballfan4life - Oct 14, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    It seems that someone hates their life. Will Smith and Brad Pitt make over 20 million a movie. I guess u hate them also. There are ex pro ballers that have become Senators, Grammy winning artist, savvy business people and physicians. Even community activists. Now what is it that u do again? Ooh, u kiss feet… How is that working out for u? Since this is being graded, I hope I used correct punktuation

  4. yournuts - Oct 15, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    Well basketbalfan4life, I guess that credit is due that Will Smith and Brad Pitt make 20 million a dollars. The only problem is they are not basketball players. Were talking basketball players here not actors, not Doctors, not business owners. I can also guarantee you that actors don’t make over 50% of the receipts of the movies that they star in. I also know that Simon Cowell makes millions of dollars at producing records but he doesn’t play basketball either. So what is your point?

    My life is wonderful. I have a beautiful wife and a wonderful family. I have a small business that provides for me and my 25 employees.

    I don’t think that I have to justify why I think an athlete isn’t worth 20 million because most people will agree with me. As for you I don’t understand why you think they are worth 20 or 30 million a year without owning the business. The only reason I can think of is because your either a basketball wannabe, a player or part of a player’s life who depends on the player to give you his crumbs?

    If an ex ball player has become an actor, grammy award artist, savvy business person or a physician then I am impressed. I still don’t understand your point. What does this have to do with my comment that the players should kiss the feet of the owners because they play a game for a living and they aren’t thankful for what they have? Because I think they are GREEDY?

    Sorry buddy but I stand with the owners!

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