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Not all 50 players united in decertification effort on reported conference calls

Nov 5, 2011, 11:30 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen

It sounded like a cadre, right? Some sort of group of insidious All-Stars hellbent on destroying the union and sending the lockout into an eternal struggle in the courts. That was the sense gained from the reports about the 50 players who held two separate conference calls this week regarding decertification and potential antitrust lawsuits against the NBA. It made it seem like all 50 were ready to go and just itching to take the legs out from Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher.

But not so fast. From the Boston Globe:

As rumors of a NBA player mutiny surfaced this week because of two conference calls that discussed decertification of the union, Celtics guard Ray Allen downplayed the calls to the Globe, calling decertification simply an “option.”

Allen said Friday night that teammate Paul Pierce organized the call of dozens of players to discuss the possibility of breaking up the union if a deal is not reached in coming weeks. According to Allen, there were two conference calls, one last week and the other Thursday. Allen said he was not on the second conference call.There has been speculation that the conference calls were a clear sign that many players are dissatisfied with the players’ union, including executive director Billy Hunter. Allen said that was not the case.

“I don’t know what kind of feedback or backlash came from it but I didn’t think there was a need for anybody to panic whatsoever,” he said. “Either on our side as a players’ union or as owners. I thought the call was strictly to explore options. It was never call to organize union business. It was purely educational from a player perspective.”

via Celtics Allen downplays decertification talks -Celtics blog – Boston Globe basketball news.

Additionally, Howard Beck of the New York Times, one of the reporters to originally break the report on the conference calls tweeted Friday night:

Players who participated in the conference calls had wide range of opinions/interest. Not unified in threat to dissolve union.Fri Nov 04 21:10:51 via web

So even among the 50 players on the calls, there wasn’t a consensus towards decertification. Factoring how many votes the players would need to approve an involuntary decertification following a 30 percent petition for a vote, this certainly cools the talks of such a drastic move.

Which is good, because decertification and subsequent antitrust suits are the fastest way to lose not just one season, but potentially two. In all honesty, the threat of decertification carries more power than the actual act, and it’s like bringing a grenade to a knife fight. It damages both sides equally. Right now it doesn’t look like the players have their fingers on the pin. We’ll see how this weekend’s talks go to figure out if it stays in the grenade.

  1. thetooloftools - Nov 5, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Today is really going to be make or break for both parties.
    Keep playing “Whack – A – Mole” with the issues and the season will be lost before you know it.
    A 50/50 BRI split is more then reasonable because when the recession hits again (and it will), everyone knows it will be much worse then the first (unless you know nothing about financial markets and the European debt crisis).

    • craigw24 - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      You seem to conveniently forget that a 50/50 split does not mean splitting the money 50/50. If it did then I think the players would have already settled. The owners take a cut off the top, then are offering 50/50 on the remainder. Also, there are some catches about how additional monies negotiated in the future would be split.

      This is not a simplistic negotiation and fans shouldn’t adopt a simplistic approach to its solution.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Nov 6, 2011 at 12:03 AM

        Yes, but it is a 50/50 split of the NET BRI which includes the expenses taken off the top. Wihch is perfectly reasonable considering all the overhead the owners deal with…like travel arrangements, renting of arenas, expenses for player benefits, etc. There is no way the players should expect the lion’s share of the total amount of revenue coming into the league when they don’t pay jack $hit for expenses to play. They come to the arena, they get their shoes and uniforms for free, they eat and drink for free, and then they play ball. They have everything handed to them on a silver platter and they don’t pay a single penny. Then they are PAID a salary. And they want the total of their salaries to be more than the guys who are paying for them to do all this make?


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