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The Final Paper (Colin&Harrison)

The Final Paper (Colin&Harrison) - For our research...

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For our research topic we will examine the current NBA labor issues being negotiated between the NBPA and owners. We will look at the history of the negotiations between both sides, including some of the more important agreements. We will also compare this year’s potential agreement with previous agreements, and the impact it could have on the future of the league. The reasons for the current dilemma is based on the previous agreement which allowed for the players to take a large portion of the basketball related income, an imbalance in revenue sharing among small and large market owners, and an outdated salary cap model that lends itself to a top-heavy league. On top of these main issues, there are other smaller issues such as the length of contracts, the amateur draft system, and a franchise tag. We will analyze these issues and report our findings. To better understand today’s labor dispute between the NBPA and Owners, we had to look at the past labor disputes. The first labor issue reared its head in 1964 before the All-Star Game (Bresnahan). Leading up to the All-Star Game, many players had made it known to Commissioner Walter Kennedy that they were serious about making changes at a meeting several months prior to the game. At that meeting, the owners had refused to listen to the players. With the game just a few hours away, the players signed a sheet saying they would not play until they were able to negotiate a new deal with the owners (Bresnahan). The owners were furious and demanded that the players play in the game, but the players continued to hold out knowing that they held all the cards in this scenario. To make matters worse for the league, the 1964 game was the first All-Star Game to be televised. The players’ demands during the holdout were tame by today’s standards. They wanted a pension plan, athletic trainers for every team, and improved playing conditions. During that time, it was not uncommon for a team to play a Saturday night game, and then have to play a Sunday afternoon game in a completely different city. With just a
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few minutes to go before tip-off, Walter Kennedy decided to meet the demands of the players (Bresnahan). The players had gotten a rare victory, and the game was only delayed by fifteen minutes. Just three years later, new union president Oscar Robertson was able to achieve another win for the players. Robertson and the union were able to negotiate an improved pension plan ($600 a month for players with ten years of service), the elimination of games immediately preceding the All-Star Game, an 82-game limitation on the regular season, and an increase in minimum salaries for both rookies and veterans (Bradley). The NBPA continued to gain little victories, and bring the league closer to a partnership between players and owners, in the seventies. However, it was not until 1983 that the league started to resemble what is seen today.
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