Coming off of one of the most exciting NBA seasons in League history, the prospect of a lockout seems almost unimaginable. But, of course, it seems like this is where we’re headed.
The Players’ Union went on the offensive following their latest meeting with NBA team owners, verbally lashing out and making it clear that the gulf between players and the people who pay their salaries has perhaps never been bigger.
Both Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter faced the media to explain the players’ side of the story, and neither one minced words:
The union for NBA players spoke out Wednesday about how livid they are that owners are not only asking for $7 to $8 billion in concessions in a proposed new collective bargaining agreement, but also are asking players to give back $160 million that was withheld from their paychecks last season. The $160 million was collected under the so-called “escrow tax” system to ensure that players received no more than 57 percent of basketball-related income. That money is scheduled to be disbursed to players in August.
“To me, it speaks to the arrogance they have in approaching us,” union president Derek Fisher said. “Trust and loyalty pretty much go out the window when it comes to business. We haven’t been partners in this venture from day one. We’ve been employees, the talent that has grown the game. It’s difficult to be partners in recovery when we haven’t been partners in generating those losses.”
“A lot of players are calling thinking we’ve gotten beyond the flex-cap issue, and that’s just not true,” Fisher said, adding that when the sides’ respective positions are spelled out in greater detail to players, the tone of the conversations shift. “Guys are in total disbelief and are asking ‘Why are we even meeting?’” Fisher said.
Yeah, so none of the above is good or even remotely encouraging news.
It might be time to start thinking about taking up a new hobby to replace watching NBA basketball for a while.