Word out of New York is that Billy Hunter, the NBA players’ union director, is steamed enough about the new ‘zero-tolerance’ policy that he’s considering taking legal action against David Stern and the NBA. Speaking to the Associated Press today, Billy said that “what may ultimately happen if it [the quick tech] continues to occur is we will probably be compelled to bring an unfair labor practice action or something. Try to seek some relief, at least to have the issue either heard or at least elevated so that it gets a lot more public attention than it’s currently getting.”
You see, the thing is that players get fined for every tech they receive–$1000 for each of the first five, with the amount increasing by $500 for the next five, and topping up at $2500 a pop starting with the sixteenth–and as things stand for the moment, the number of techs called has nearly doubled this year (according to the Elias Sports Bureau there have been 122 techs called so far this season, compared to 66 at the same time last season.)
Now, while I may agree with Billy Hunter’s (and the players) stance on the issue–it’s ridiculous to try and turn the players into a bunch of emotionless zombies–I just don’t see how he’s going to pull this off. What makes him (and the union) think he’s got a shot against Stern in court (the legal kind, and that of public opinion?) It seems as though Hunter is quick to forget what happened the last time he challenged Stern. Remember the disastrous lockout in 1999? Does he want to deal with a pissed-off Stern and his goatee again?
Don’t mess with the bull, people. You’ll end up getting the horns.