David Stern on NBA Lockout: “We are sorry it has reached this. We are going to try to make a deal on Tuesday.”October 14, 2011 – 5:45 am by Steven Cuce
If NBA owners and players cannot strike a new labor deal this coming Tuesday when they meet next, the NBA will again find itself one step closer to the precipice of alienating a large portion of its fanbase. When it came to the NFL lockout over the summer, sports fan felt like something was taken away from them like professional football was their constitutional right. The NFL is an addiction for sports fans. The same cannot be said for the NBA.
Not only do most people not care about the NBA currently being locked out and losing games for the first two weeks of the season, but the league seems to believe fans will be willing to take them back. All the business owners, vendors and arena workers are devastated by the lockout because this is how they support their families. It is an utter joke that it has come to this for yet another professional sporting league. The sports world would hope the players and owners strike a deal on Tuesday or it will take quite some time to win any of the fans back at this point.
David Stern joined ESPN Radio (New York & Los Angeles) with Stephen A. Smith to discuss his message to NBA fans about the lockout, the owners and players meeting this Tuesday, the chances of a deal being struck on Tuesday, the possibility of no games being played before Christmas time if a deal is not struck next week, the biggest misinterpretation about the dispute between owners and players and his reaction to Amar’e Stoudemire claiming the players will start their own league.
What do you say to NBA fans nationwide and globally?
“We are sorry it has reached this. We will try as hard as we possibly can to make a deal. You can examine everything we’ve offered and everything I say. We are going to try to make a deal on Tuesday.”
“Yeah that is when the mediator is in before my owners meeting. This is the perfect opportunity.”
What do you think are the chances of pulling off a deal to end the lockout on Tuesday?
“We are ready to talk about everything. I hope the union comes in the same way because if they don’t I was asked earlier today whether my gut was that would be playing basketball on Christmas day and my gut – not my official position, but my gut says as a fan no because of a bunch of hard headed people that have moved in an opposite direction. This is the time to use the cauldron of boiling water that is this dispute to say, ‘Come on guys. We owe it to the fans and all those people you talk about to finally get off where we are and make a deal.’ “
If there is no deal by Wednesday are there no games on Christmas day?
“That’s not a promise or a threat. That’s a gut reaction that says ‘I am worried that might be the case.’ “
What would you say is the biggest misinterpretation about the dispute between owners and players?
“I’d say number one is the NBA owners being the intransigent ones here, who want to cram down a hard salary cap. In fact I said, ‘We wanted the NFL cap.’ The NBA union said, ‘No. We wanted the NHL cap.’ The NBA union said, ‘No. We want a heftier luxury tax to help competition and spread things out.’ The NBA union said, ‘No.’ I think the idea that it is being written in blogs that it is the owners who are the tough ones here is wrong.”
Amar’e Stoudemire went on ESPN yesterday and claimed the players would try to start their own league. What is your reaction to that?
“Be careful. Don’t get yourself hurt. Hopefully if we make a deal you will come back and find a system that has been responsible for getting the players $2.2 billion dollars a year, which is not going to be difficult to replicate. It is going to be impossible to replicate.”