Players Union Chief Calls Salary Cap ‘Un-American’; NBA Fires Back

by November 13, 2014

The next labor war won’t begin in earnest until 2017, but the NBA players union is firing off the first salvos.

Michele Roberts, the new union chief, continues to wage a public relations battle with the League -– she objects to anything that limits the players’ earning potential (salary cap, rookie wage scale, the age limit), wants to shorten the regular season, and simply laughs when teams claim they’re still losing money.


“Why don’t we have the owners play half the games?” Roberts said. “There would be no money if not for the players.”


“Let’s call it what it is. There. Would. Be. No. Money,” she added, pausing for emphasis. “Thirty more owners can come in, and nothing will change. These guys [the players] go? The game will change. So let’s stop pretending.”


“I don’t know of any space other than the world of sports where there’s this notion that we will artificially deflate what someone’s able to make, just because,” she said, talking about a salary cap — a collectively bargained policy that, in its current form, has constrained team spending in the NBA since 1984-85. “It’s incredibly un-American. My DNA is offended by it.” […] “I can’t understand why the [players’ association] would be interested in suppressing salaries at the top if we know that as salaries at the top have grown, so have salaries at the bottom,” she said. “If that’s the case, I contend that there is no reason in the world why the union should embrace salary caps or any effort to place a barrier on the amount of money that marquee players can make.”

The NBA responded to Roberts’ fiery comments Thursday, with a statement from commissioner Adam Silver: