The latest lockout news from Kelly Dwyer paints a grim picture indeed. A group of owners, lead by that never-ending-douchebag, Michael Jordan, are setting a hard line. They are unhappy with a 50/50 split, and aim to push for 47%. This is out of the kindness of where their hearts used to be, mind you, because they really think the players deserve 37%. You don’t have to point out the irony of a former player leading this charge to destruction. For once, Michael Jordan’s pathological need to crush all opposition can finally widely be called “a bad thing.”
What is clear from the Dwyer write up, and this Grantland article, is that close to half of the owners simply do not care about whether a season happens or not. They do not care about the regular Americans that lose out. They care solely about winning, and winning big. It’s what one would call “bad faith.”
Which is why, in my estimation, the players are left with one choice: decertify the union. The process itself is arduous. First, the players must have at least 30% of union members sing the petition to decertify. The petition and several corresponding documents must then be sent to the National Labor Relations Board. The Board reviews the documents, and if it approves, sets a date for a general vote, usually 60 days from the time of approval. The union must then have a vote of decertification, which requires a simple majority to pass.
Why go through all this? Because once it is done, the players, though they no longer have collective bargaining power (for all the good that’s done them), have the ability to file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NBA. The players can charge the NBA with unfair business practices that hurt employees and consumers, and with violating ethical standards by locking out employees and refusing to move toward the middle on negotiations. The players can then also charge that the owners are acting as a cartel, to fix player price, exert territorial exclusivity, and limit bargaining rights. The draft and salary cap may also be attacked as cartel actions.
Essentially, it would be an all out legal battle between the players and owners for how the business of professional basketball should be run in the USA, with no sure bets on what the end result would look like.
So why am I in favor of it? Because it has become clear to me that the owners are no longer suitable to run the NBA. They have routinely increased ticket prices, keeping real fans out of arenas. They have squandered money recklessly on players, and not taken responsibility for their own spending. They have bargained in bad faith. They have regularly demanded that cities build arenas for them out of tax payer money, with the threat to leave town otherwise. They have used shady accounting and business practices to cook the books. And they have thrown away their employees, from the millionaire ball players down to the thousandaire concession workers, for what amounts to icing on their giant money cakes.
They have failed in their charge, through only the fault of their own greed.
So, I, a self described NBA junkie, have reached the point where I would rather go two, possibly three seasons, without any professional basketball to watch, rather than to see the current batch of NBA owners get one more cent from sport, from the fans, and from the players. I will go to bed tonight and dream of decertification, and a league run by men, not by monsters.