NBA owners and players battling in court

In an attempt to counter litigation by NBA players claiming the league violated U.S. antitrust laws by imposing the lockout, the league asked a federal court to declare the lockout legal and not in violation of law.

The owners also issued a formal complaint to the National Labor Relations Board that the players’ union violated law when they threatened filing to de-certify the union. The threat to de-certify is a similar move that was made by the NFLPA during football’s lockout.

While complaining about the players threatening, the league engaged in threatening of their own. The AP reported that within the NLRB complaint was a request by the owners to terminate all existing contracts with players if the union is allowed to disband.

All these aggressive legal actions add to the nasty tone that has come out of the league office since the NBA Finals concluded.

David Stern is attempting to stop the players from directing the action. If this thing ends up in court, it’s going to be Stern and his 29 owners getting the jump on players. While the NFLPA were prepared to de-certify and file a suit, Billy Hunter and the NBA players were not, prompting the bold move by the league to file ahead of the players.

While Stern seems to be taking control of the public posturing that occurs during these kinds of negotiations, the only significant talk about the lockout regarding the union has come from individual players who are looking for paychecks in Europe or Asia.

Many expected the NBA to try to prevent that and keep their assets healthy until the league re-opens for business but several players are already running the courts overseas. Stern has responded opposite as expected, telling players to have fun but get their own insurance.

The owners appear to be willing to have their financial positions take a hit if it breaks the will of the union….time will tell if that maneuver works. In the meantime fans are getting a taste of the sport watching Kevin Durant tear up Rucker Park as he takes his street ball tour for Nike through New York City.

Used with permission of the author.

Paula Duffy is a national sports columnist for and the Huffington Post and regularly comments on sports/legal matters for radio affiliates of ESPN and Fox Sports. She founded the sports information site, Incidental Contact, is the author of a line of audio books designed for sports novices and in her spare time practices law in Los Angeles.

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