NEW YORK — First, the most important thing: Nobody picked up the phone Monday to schedule another labor meeting. That was the word as of 7 p.m. EDT.
In other news, Heat owner Micky Arison was reportedly fined $500,000 for his tweets the night the lockout talks broke up, and Billy Hunter denied there was a rift between him and union president Derek Fisher.
As expected, the NBA lowered its lockout hammer Monday on Micky Arison for offering opinions on the ongoing work stoppage on his Twitter account last Friday. NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed to the Sun Sentinel that the league has fined the Miami Heat owner. Yahoo reported the sanction was $500,000. NBA Commissioner David Stern had issued an edict before the July 1 start of the lockout that team and league personnel would not be allowed to comment on the lockout beyond the confines of league-approved media sessions. Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan was fined $100,000 in September for comments made to an Australian publication regarding the lockout.
At that time, the league only acknowledged the sanction, not the scope of the fine. Such was the case again Monday. While Jordan mentioned Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut by name in his comments, Arison did not mention specific players while responding to questions on his Twitter account (@MickyArison). Arison is considered among the owners pushing hardest for a resumption of play, reluctant to lose additional games with his stacked roster of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh that advanced to last season’s NBA Finals. In the wake of Stern canceling games through the end of November due to an impasse in the negotiations, Arison began replying to lockout-related posts sent to his Twitter account. It started with a post directed to his Twitter account that read, “Guess what? Fans provide all the money you’re fighting over you greedy (expletive) pigs.” Arison responded, “Honestly u r barking at the wrong owner.”
That response later was deleted.”
NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter disputed a report that indicated there was a rift between himself and union President Derek Fisher. Hunter, in a telephone interview with SportsBusiness Journal late Sunday evening, said he did not confront Fisher about him pushing for players to take a 50-50 split of basketball revenues on Friday morning, hours before talks to end the NBA lockout broke down. In a report published on Saturday, FoxSports.com’s Jason Whitlock cited sources as saying that Hunter and “at least one member of the union’s executive committee” confronted Fisher on Friday morning to “make him reassess his 50-50 push.”