Tag: antitrust lawsuit

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Latest legal hoop jumped through: players settle lawsuit

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There can be no basketball until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is approved and in place, and there can be no CBA vote until the NBA union is reformed (remember the “disclaimer of interest”), and that can’t happen until the antitrust lawsuits against the league are settled.

Well, we’ve got the first domino to fall — an agreement to settle the lawsuits was reached Tuesday night, reports Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated. The players are already getting cards to vote to reform the union, which will come soon.

After that, the union needs to get 260 signatures to reform the union, something they expect by Thursday, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

The formal vote on the CBA by the players is expected next week, in times for training camps to open on Friday as planned. Basically the dismissal of the lawsuits is tied to all of this, but the settlement had to come first.

Okay, enough with the legal talk for today. Lets get back to the important things… like NBA stars playing football.

The next NBA legal battle: venue for the legal battles

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When the NBA filed a preemptive lawsuit in New York back in August trying to take the teeth out of decertification of the players union, the union’s lawyers accused the league of “forum shopping.” Meaning the goal of the lawsuit was to choose the venue for future legal battles, not win the suit itself.

Now the venue is the battle. Antitrust lawsuits filed by players this week were in northern California and Minnesota. Where the case is heard could help determine the outcome.

The Sports Law Blog tries to explain this to us non-lawyers.

In both the 8th and 9th Circuits (where the players filed suits), courts have repeatedly held that the non-statutory labor exemption shields from antitrust scrutiny only activities that (1) involve mandatory subjects of bargaining, (2) primarily affect the parties involved, and (3) are reached through bona fide arms’ length bargaining. Based on this standard, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota concluded in McNeil v. Nat’l Football League, 790 F. Supp. 871 (D. Minn. 1991) that the non-statutory labor exemption cannot apply after a union disclaims interest: presumably because after a disclaimer the second and third prongs of the non-statutory labor exemption cannot be met.

By contrast, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (New York, where the league filed) in Clarett v. Nat’l Football League rejected the 8th & 9th Circuit definition of the non-statutory labor exemption in favor of a far broader non-statutory labor exemption. Thus, in the Second Circuit, the mere act of disclaiming union interest might not impose immediate liability on a sports league for maintaining terms originally implemented before such a disclaimer.

Yea, I start to get lost in there, too. But the idea is that the venue matters — the players filed where they did for a reason, as did the league in August. Whoever wins the coming venue battle will win the first skirmish of this war.

Or, you know, the two sides could sit down and negotiate a deal like adults. Just sayin’.

Lakers Steve Blake said he did not support 50/50 deal

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks

Shannon Brown was one of the responsible ones. Not all of the 30 team representative to the NBA players union polled the players before voting on Monday to dissolve the union and take the battle to court. Brown, the Lakers rep, was one of the good ones.

The Lakers have union president Derek Fisher and also Steve Blake, a player who had been named as trying to rally players to accept the league’s 50/50 offer, or at least vote on it.

But Blake told ESPNLosAngeles.com that his position has been misrepresented.

“It has been my goal, throughout my career and even more so during the lockout to be a responsible and active member of our Players Association,” Blake wrote. “With that said, many of the reports published have been inaccurate. I have actively had conversations with my teammates, Player Representatives and the Executive Committee over the past weeks and months about the status of the negotiations and proposals. My stance is simply to make sure we weigh all proposals. I have not made a decision on whether or not a proposal was right to take, just simply encouraging all of our players and representatives to review everything carefully and then make the appropriate choices as a collective body.”

Well said. It may not be true, but well said. Why would I say it may not be fully truthful? Here is what Brown said of Blake in the same article.

“I spoke to (Blake) and he was one of the guys who wanted to take the deal,” Brown said in a phone interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com on Tuesday. “I respect his opinion. I didn’t try to sway it. I gave him the advantages and the disadvantages of taking the deal and not taking the deal. Going into the meeting, I understood that he was one of those people that were for taking the deal.

“I’m not going to say that everybody was for not taking the deal, but I can say it was a majority that was for (turning it down). I can say that much.”

You can make the argument that the players should have voted on David Stern and the owners latest offer. I would make the argument the smart move by the players would have been for player reps to modify Stern’s offer and send it back to him (if for no other reason that make him be the bad guy risking blowing up the season, not you). The players now are making the suggestion that they had no choice but to dissolve the union and take the issues to the court.

Whatever argument you take, know that not all the players are that informed on the issues.

(Shannon Brown) said he knew of player reps trying to reach out to their teammates only to find the phone number they were provided with had been changed or disconnected.

And whatever side you take, know that the union is not a unified front on this. There is a real diversity of opinion. There are a lot more Steve Blakes out there. Whatever his opinion is.