NBA files suit against NBPA
By Matt Moore
The NBA today announced it is filing suit against the NBPA for "unfair labor practices" with the National Labor Relations Board, countering the same move from the NBPA last month, and a federal suit to pre-emptively cut off any potential civil actions pertaining to antitrust law violations.
From the NBA's release:
You may remember these moves from "NFL Lockout 2011" and "What The League Said It Didn't Want To Do." This is essentially a pre-emptive strike to cut off the union's legal maneuverability at the knees. Whether this indicates that the NBPA threatened decertification in Monday's meeting after reports of an agent mutiny pushing for legal moves last week is unclear. What is clear is that the NBA is not kidding around about winning this lockout using any and all available means. For months, the league and the union have both said they wanted to avoid taking this dispute into the courts because of how bitter and drawn out it can become. Then in a month and a day, we now have three different legal charges from the two sides including a federal lawsuit.NBA FILES UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE CHARGE AND FEDERAL LAWSUIT AGAINST NBPA
NEW YORK, August 2, 2011 – The NBA filed two claims today against the National Basketball Players Association: an unfair labor practice charge before the National Labor Relations Board, and a lawsuit in federal district court in New York. The unfair labor practice charge asserts that the Players Association has failed to bargain in good faith by virtue of its unlawful threats to commence a sham “decertification” and an antitrust lawsuit challenging the NBA’s lockout. The federal lawsuit seeks to establish, among other things, that the NBA's lockout does not violate federal antitrust laws and that if the Players Association's “decertification” were found to be lawful, all existing player contracts would become void and unenforceable.
“These claims were filed in an effort to eliminate the use of impermissible pressure tactics by the union which are impeding the parties’ ability to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Adam Silver. “For the parties to reach agreement on a new CBA, the union must commit to the collective bargaining process fully and in good faith.”
Don't say Ken Berger of CBSSports.com didn't warn you when he predicted this precise scenario last week. The NFL used the exact same description of the decertification approach in their legal battles, calling the NFLPA's decertification a "sham." Stern's comments after Monday's bargaining session seem like premonition at this point. Ken Berger notes that this is as much about setting the venue as the federal court as it is about anything else. It's a move by the NBA to get the ball in the court they want it, so to speak.
We've hit a new level and all-out legal warfare is now in play.
This isn't news that anyone wanted to hear, I think. But it seems like the NBA has gone for the nuclear option.
I guess today's bargaining session didn't go well.