Lockout Villains to Blame for Lack of Deal?
One of the interesting aspects of this labor impasse has been the way certain folks on both sides—some predictable, some not—have been demonized. Here on Halloween, it’s a good time to look at the biggest villains to emerge in this lockout.
David Stern. Stern has to bat leadoff in any list of bad guys in this lockout—being the bad guy at a time like this is part of his job. The total can be debated, but there is no question the league’s owners have, collectively, lost money in recent years, and that leaves Stern to deliver the bad news. Still, the tone of these negotiations was set back in January 2010 when the league delivered a draconian proposal for the new collective bargaining agreement to the players, which included a hard cap, non-guaranteed contracts and a total player pay cut of about 20 percent.
Stern has repeatedly patted himself on the back for getting owners to make “concessions” on those issues, but as union officials repeatedly point out, he shouldn’t get credit for making concessions on an impossible proposal. In the bigger picture, there is this: Of the four previous CBAs that Stern has negotiated, three have resulted in lockouts (although only two of those lockouts have resulted in lost games).
Derek Fisher. Fisher, like Stern, was almost predestined to be a villain here, either by players and agents who fear he would cave too easily to Stern, or by rank-and-file union members who want to see Fisher cut a deal so they can get back to work quickly. Sure enough, a FoxSports.com report this weekend outlined the fear of some players (OK, one player) that Fisher is getting too cozy with Stern, has broken with Hunter and is willing to accept a 50-50 split of basketball-related income (BRI), and that, essentially, he is not as smart as players like Steve Nash and Grant Hill. Of course, many around the league feel players would approve a 50-50 deal, so if Fisher is advocating that, he is merely doing his job. But again, he will be painted as a bad guy either way.