The NBA lockout is in its fifth month, and things are getting worse. NBA commissioner David Stern recently announced that there are not going to be anymore games until December 15th, totaling a loss of 324 games, which equates to about 25% of the season. The players felt that nothing has been getting done, so they disbanded their union in the hopes that things might change. Many players have decided to file class action anti-trust law suits, arguing that the NBA owners locking out the players on July 1st violated anti-trust laws by not letting the players work.
The players have filed two lawsuits in two different states, California and Minnesota, and are being represented by Attorney David Boies. Boies moved the California case to the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals; the 9th circuit is known for being a very liberal court, and thus would likely favor the players in the upcoming court battle. The other case, filed in Minnesota, is also a very liberal court. The NBA has decided to file a counter suit in New York City in an attempt to have the other court cases moved there as well. This could seriously damage the players case as the New York City’s court system often is in favor of the owners in worker disputes such as these. The players are suing for “treble damages,” three times the two billion that they would have made if they had played for the entire season. At the moment the court case is set to be heard on February 29th, 2012, but Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports has reported, “[A] court official says that [the] court date could be moved up.”
Even if the court date isn’t moved up there still might be hope. Last week the NBA players missed their first paycheck. On average this is a loss of over $220,000 per player. Many players spend their money lavishly, and with the season being cut even shorter, the players will become more desperate. Many hope that the players are more prepared for the impending loss of money then they were during the ’98 – ’99 lockout. Hopefully this will mean that the players will settle outside of court, so they can minimize the amount of money they would miss, and the fans will finally be able to watch more basketball.
Unfortunately it is not just the players, or the owners, who will experience losses, the average workers at the stadium will be hit the hardest. There are thousands of workers across America who are experiencing the loss of their jobs. These workers were already paid low wages, and the loss of a monthly of paycheck will throw thousands of Americans into an even deeper state of poverty.
The NBA lockout really needs to come to an end. Everyone is starting to experience the pains of the lockout. The most important people to the success of basketball, the fans, are also getting fed up, and are starting to go elsewhere. If the lawsuit continues, we might not hear a verdict for a very longtime, and the scars of the suit will never go away. It is time to end the lockout.