Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 at 9:00 am  |  15 responses

Should Another Negotiator Join NBA Labor Talks?

by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

George Cohen, the famed federal mediator, couldn’t help broker a deal between the players and owners.

Following days of fruitless negotiations, an exasperated Cohen threw his hands up, packed his things, and said there was no longer any point to it all.

So, why not bring in a guy who helped end the last lockout — especially one that David Stern respects, and may even somewhat fear?

NBA.com asks the question:

Jim Quinn is a longtime — and respected — adversary of NBA commissioner David Stern dating back to the historic Oscar Robertson antitrust suit in 1976. He represented the NBA players’ association for almost 20 years and pulled some all-nighters with Stern and union director Billy Hunter to help end the 1998-99 lockout and salvage a shortened season. More recently Quinn played a vital role for the NFLPA in its labor dispute with the NFL, overseeing the union’s decertification and the Tom Brady class-action lawsuit that gave the players some leverage for further negotiations this summer. He teamed during the football lockout with former partner Jeffrey Kessler, who took over the NBPA work after the last lockout and remains the union’s outside counsel.

“I’d be happy to help if I could,” said Quinn, who chairs a 500-lawyer global litigation practice for Weil, Gotshal & Manages LLP. “I got involved [13] years ago to try to get the thing resolved, and we did get it done. They seem to be pretty far apart right now.” I first spoke with Quinn weeks ago, after learning of several back-channel attempts to put union leadership in touch with him. That same go-between urged Hunter and union president Derek Fisher to seek input from Robertson and other past NBPA leaders. Robertson in particular was willing to help — but the NBPA contacted neither him nor Quinn. The veteran litigator did hear from Stern, however, a few months ago. “He called me right after we filed the Brady lawsuit to wish me bad luck,” Quinn said, chuckling. “We have a, I think, begrudging respect for each other. David and I go back to the earliest days of the Robertson lawsuit.”

More games are expected to soon be chopped off the regular slate by the League, there are no meetings presently scheduled between the two sides, and things look quite bleak at the moment.

A fresh perspective is clearly needed in the room whenever negotiations start up again.

Not to say that someone like Jim Quinn will bring a resolution to the lockout, but he certainly couldn’t make things any worse than they are now, right?

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  • RDeahn

    Bring in the irishmen to save the day.

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • jayb

    sure lets roll! i want a season! if i get the dream team saturday..great! for lord stern wasting a year for kobe is something that should not happen..period!!!

  • Ferretbite

    They might as well give the Negotiator title to Shatner. At least He gets results

  • VanCityBBall

    might as well nothing to lose… oh wait yes there is the whole season

  • Pingback: NBA Set to Cancel Another Two Weeks of Season Due to Lockout - 600 ESPN EL PASO

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The NBPA is borderline stupid. Why in the hell wouldn’t you contact someone that salvaged the 99 season and helped the NFL reach an agreement? Those clowns have been dragging their feet ever since they knew a lockout was coming 2yrs ago and now it’s come back to bite them in the a**.

  • Tmac

    they need samuel jackson

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Scoop had some interesting thoughts on the lockout today.

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    i wish they cared about the fans. but they dont because they know the fans are stupid and will still go to the games. guys, once this ends dont go to the games or buy league pass for a while. 2 lockouts in 12 years is ridiculous. i know it hurt, but seriously.

  • Charles

    They need the most interesting man in the world.

  • BBaller

    @Joey E, mate you have a good point. It is us who are the ones who are getting screwed. If and a big IF there is a season, i would love to see empty stadiums across the league for the first game just to show how important we as fans are and express our disappointment of both sides of this lockout.

  • http://www.tampax.com doyouwantmore

    I think there should be a fan representative making sure that everyone’s priority is making sure that a season happens at all, no matter what. That fan rep should have most of the negotiating power seeing as how the fans pay for everything these clowns are arguing about. —BTW if you sided with the players because they’re cool and you’re star-struck then you’re one of the fools that ruined this season. If the fans would stop backing players just because players look cooler in a jersey then the players wouldn’t have this phony sense of entitlement and public goodwill that is holding up the negotiations.

  • BBaller

    @doyouwantmore, again a very good point made. BRI should be 45% players, 45% owners and 10% given back to the fans to make admission prices lower, merchandise cheaper and Hotdogs and chips not cost $20. Does either party even care what they are doing to the fans, it’s our game not exclusively theirs. Imagine zero attendance for the first game.The only people driving Ferraris to games are players and owners and we are supposed to feel sorry for either of them. Boycott the first proposed game fans!

  • BBaller

    If the only disputed percentage is just 3%, donate it to charity and get on with it! A player who may play only 3 minutes a game gets what 500k a year? An owner who “may” make a loss on their investment would just claim it on tax through their other investments. I’m getting more pi$$ed at this as each day passes!