Involuntary Decertification Possible in NBA lockout


Updating what I am reporting in the above video, there is more news: As many as 50 NBA players held two conference calls this week to discuss decertification as a fallback option. This was a strategy that was employed in the summer-long  1995 lockout, forcing Charles Grantham from power as he was replaced by Simon Gourdine.

This time, it would be a revolt from within the ranks aimed at stripping Billy Hunter of his power, and it would fall under the category of “involuntary decertification” because the union leadership would be bypassed.

And in order to execute an involuntary decertification under National Labor Relations Board rules, at least 120 players would have to sign a petition stating that they do not want to be represented by the NBPA.

Furthermore, if more than 50 percent of the league’s players signed the petition (that would be 200-plus players), the procedure would be for the NLRB to then ask the NBA if it would immediately withdraw recognition of the union, although the NBA would not be compelled to do so.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, via Twitter: “Calls included several All-Stars. One source on calls told Y!: “We’re beyond frustrated with concessions that have already been made.” 

From Howard Beck of The New York Times: “A group of 50 NBA players intend to push for the dissolution of their union if a new round of labor negotiations fails this weekend, or if the talks produce an unpalatable deal, according to a person who has spoken to the players. The movement was said to be entirely player-driven, and borne of a frustration with the pace of talks between the league and union leaders. … “And the players are seriously considering decertification if a deal is not reached where the players’ proposals are in the final elements of the deal,” said the person connected to the players. That means the players involved will oppose any deal that includes less than a 52.5 percent share of league revenues for players, or any number of proposed restrictions on free-agent movement. N.B.A. owners are proposing a 50-50 split of revenues and have held firm to that position. The league is also pushing to eliminate certain salary-cap exceptions for teams that exceed the luxury tax threshold. N.B.A. and union negotiators are scheduled to meet Saturday afternoon in Manhattan. The group of disenchanted players is looking for progress toward a deal. If there is no progress, or if the progress requires further union concessions, the decertification effort will proceed.

From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News, via Twitter: “NLRB rules would mean all players would have to vote on decertification, likely at Fed. office buildings, just as occurred in 1995.” … Vote tally in 1995: 226 NBPA members opposed decertification, 134 in favor. … Memory of ’95 decert. vote: On stakeout at Denver Fed. Bldg, & seeing Brian Williams (Bison Dele) skateboarding thru traffic on way to vote.



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  2. Mark says

    Some (not all) of the players are delusional into thinking the public really cares if they sit (they don’t). The owners intended from the beginning to show who’s in charge and they will continue to do so until the players decide finally to save face and agree to come back.

  3. Jason says

    I’m sure there are 50 players out there willing to dig in their heels and try to get a better deal. But I bet the other 400 are ready to sign off on what the NBA is offering them right now.

  4. Randia says

    Is there any idea who these 50 players are? I mean I don’t want the players to have to concede everything but if it is the LeBron James’ and Kevin Garnetts I could watch a league without their attitudes.

  5. Bill says

    Let the players stew in their own juices. I have been an NBA fan since 1960 duing the Red Auerbach/Bill Russell era when players were true professionals and not the egomaniacal, self absorbed South beach oriented multimillionaires with a huge sense of entitlement simply because they have been blessed with extraordinary physical skills. LeBron James, are you listening? Because you are the poster boy for everything we despise about the players.

    A pox on LBJ and the rest of them. They embarrass the game. The sooner we stop the inmates from running the NBA asylum and establish a level playing field, the better. As for me, i am looking forward to an outstanding and rich season of big time collegiate basketball.

  6. FrankVogelisGOD says

    Both sides have totally lost all control of their constituents, if they ever had any to begin with. These negotiations are a disaster. Maybe it’s just posturing and they’ll make progress this weekend, but more it’s more likely we will not have a season this year.

  7. Xavier says

    The owners have underestimated the seriousness of the players. The players are not fooled by the misinformation and lies thrown around by Stern, and seem to be willing to sacrificed the season to get a fair deal. They also realize that a new TV deal is due within a few years.

    While I would selfishly love to see basketball this year, I realize that “right is right”, and this fight has definitely become about principle.

    • illyb says

      That would be the most stubborn and worthless thing to do. Because the deal isn’t good enough to pass to other players down the line they are going to jeopardize the leagues existence out of spite? Wouldn’t that be an even worse disservice to up and coming players?

      The players only leverage is mutual destruction to which they have more of a vested interest in avoiding. Unless you think cities will start suing the NBA since their arenas are empty. That is what the players association should be spurring on.

      • ignarus says

        no cause to blame players — the league expects the players to make the poorest, worst run teams competitive with the best, richest, large market teams at their own expense.

        it’s not like the players have been given much choice in any of this. if the owners want to flex every last muscle they’ve got to put the players in the worst position they can possibly manage, i certainly can’t blame the players for using every tactic available to make it as costly to their antagonists as possible.

        the two sides *should* be working together, but for reasons i can’t justify, the owners have unilaterally decided to try to run the table.

        the players DO have leverage. teams are worth a lot of money when the league is doing well and they’re worth next to nothing if basketball isn’t going to be played. being able to say “no” to a proposal is always going to be significant leverage.

        with at least some of the owners, this lockout seems mostly about power and spite rather than any good business sense or what’s good for the league.

        i’m starting to think stern might not even have that much control of the situation in his side. if he’s having trouble keeping an insultingly bad 50% proposal on the table when there’s a nearly full set of games to be played, there’s little hope for the season if they don’t get it done quickly.

        i can’t blame the players for defending themselves as best they can when the owners have been so absurdly demanding and utterly unwilling to negotiate from a realistic position.

        it’d be nice enough to wake up one day and read that the nba got slammed with an antitrust suit and would have to pay triple damages to the players, but it’s more likely that i’ll just get more and more apathetic about the sport in general and just go delete all these nba site bookmarks.

        i feel bad for the writers, incidentally, because NBA bloggers have really done a whole hell of a lot over the past few years and done a great deal to improve the available commentary over the nonsense soundbite crap that makes it onto TV.

        shit, i’m having trouble getting interested in playing nba video games. it’s been a couple of weeks at least.

        hope this all works out somehow, folks. the game deserves better owners than these folks.

        • Bill says

          Check the finanical disparity between the teams by googling NBA franchise revenues. The top teams-LA an NY-earn more than $200 million in revenue from regional advertising and TV contracts, much like the Yankees do in baseball. While the smallest franchises earn slightly over $80 million. However, in the NBA by signing one/two superstars one can almost buy a championship as the three amigos tried to do in miami last season. This is unlike MLB where a 25 man roster is very important from top to bottom and the acquisition of two/three top players does not buy a championship-once again using my Yankees as an illustration.

          Where did the top FA’s g last year? Miami, NY, NJ and Chicago. Who can most afford them and has the ambience and night life to attract them? Those four. Wait until the lakers retool, if we are under he same system.

          With 22 of 30 franchises losing money this past year, the business model for the NBA is broken. How would the players union feel if it dug in its heels against salary concessions and ultimately lost 2-4 franchises and 56 player jobs? Would this be protecting the players’ rights or would it simply be protecting the superstars?

          • illyb says

            Well this isn’t about whether the NBA is or isn’t in a bad state, it is about how much is necessary to fix it.

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