Bus Law

Bus law Bus law There was a time when men played for the love of the game; when competition alone satisfied the male ego. This age of basketball featured greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Oscar Robinson. These gladiators, and those like them, battled repeatedly winning league championships, MVPs, scoring titles, and other accolades. Then, the product of James Naismith moved into an era where the love continued, but money was added. Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkely, Reggie Miller and Tim Hardaway have become league “posterboys” for commercials and shoe contracts. Each of them has continued the competitive fires burning while adding a flare of green.

Today, the league seems to be completely entrenched in money. Multimillion dollar contracts, million dollar endorsements, and billion dollar television deals are the focus of the league now. Some criticize on the players for being so concerned about money while others argue the players should be compensated for their God given talents. These “some” are mostly owners of NBA franchises and the “others” are the players. There are some that petition that the players bring in the money, so they should receive it while others say that they are already compensated enough for a game. In this instance, the “some” are pro player fans and the”others” are allies of the owners.

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With the large amounts of money that pass through the hands of the owners of NBA franchises and the precedent that has been set by other professional athletic leagues, NBA players should receive substantial compensation for their services. EmployeeEmployer relations have been rigid since the beginning of time. For this reason, laborers started labor unions to rectify the problem. Labor unions, are associations of workers for improving economic status through collective bargaining, formed out of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century (Labor). Collective bargaining is defined as the negotiation between the representatives of organized workers and their employer(s) to determine wages, hours, rules, and working conditions.

The conditions under which these former farmers had to work were unbearable. The farmer got tired of the treatment and banded to together. Labor unions sprouted in the US around the 1830s; however, the first major group was the Knights of Labor that organized in 1869 (Labor). Within the last six years, there has been much discussion about the National Basketball Association and the labor agreement lockout that happened a few years ago. The details are tedious, but the overall discrepancy looms over how much the players are worth and how much the owners should pay them. In the summer of 1995, the owners opened the collective bargaining agreement.

Their fear is that the players are receiving too much of the BRI, or basketball related income. In 1988 the collective bargaining agreement allotted the players fortyeight percent of BRI, they earned fiftytwo percent. The owners, not happy with these figures, locked the players out until a better contract was agreed upon. The players, eager to play and start the season, accepted a six-year deal that stated: The average salary will increase from $1.7 million to $3 million over six years. The minimum salary will increase from $150,000 to $225,000 next season and will increase by ten percent each season thereafter. The creation of a $1 million exception for those teams exceeding the salary cap.

The retention of the Larry Bird exception, which states that players completing two seasons with a team can resign with that team for any amount regardless of the salary cap. The elimination of the luxury tax. The players shall be allocated fortyeight percent of BRI and the owners have the option of opening the agreement if it reaches over fiftyone point eight percent. Sixtythree percent of the ninety percent of the players union who were present at the meeting voted for this agreement. Two members of the players union, union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler and Michael Jordan, foresaw the problems of this agreement. In an interview after the signing, Kessler says, “I still believe it was a terrible vote for the players and they are going to regret it for a long time,”.

Jordan had similar, but different thoughts. “I am with the majority as long as two years down the road they can live with the repercussions of what this deal is going to give them”. Michael Jordan and Jeffrey Kessler jinxed the agreement. On Tuesday June 30, 1998 at midnight, the NBA Board of Directors locked the players out. The owners, again frustrated over the percentage of BRI that the players received shut down all personnel transactions, workout facilities, and summer camps.

The immediate cause of the lockout stems from the $995 million in total salaries, or fiftyseven percent of BRI that the players received instead of their contractual fortyeight percent. Still, other issues caused the lockout. The league wants: A firm salary cap that cannot be broken. The Larry Bird clause to be phased out in two years. The annual increase for veterans limited to five percent.

A guaranteed fiveyear rookie contract with the right of first refusal for one year. A drug policy that includes heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana. The owners wants are not unwarranted. They feel as though a stern salary cap will curve the large contracts that have recently taken precedence in the league. This will also help control the division of BRI.

The rookie contract request stems from the amount of rookies who enter the league and have excellent initial seasons. The rookies would then leave their drafting teams to the highest bidder where they eventually help their new team compete for a NBA Championship. The owners feel that the mandatory five-year rookie contracts will allow the drafting team to get the better years out of the rookie before he leaves for another team. Last, the owners feel that players are passing the drug tests, but still enjoy alcohol and marijuana. They feel that these substances are just as dangerous as heroin and cocaine and should not be tolerated.

On the other hand, the players had good reasons for their requests, which included: The continuation of the Larry Bird clause. More freedom in free agency. The ability to test their market value. Salary scale that increases with tenure. The players believe that the Larry Bird clause is essential. This clause allows players the ability to remain with their original team. Many players like the current team that they are playing for and wish to remain in the city where they started their career and raised their families.

The players would also like more freedom to move. Players whose contracts expire would like the chance to test their market value instead of being trapped into re-signing with their original team. Last, too many players that have endured the National Basketball Association for over ten years are making $500,000 while players who have two-year tenures make millions. This is not ethical and the players feel that it needs to be addressed. As of November 20, 1998, the negotiation teams had reached a common ground.

They agreed on some issues, but just needed to do some “tinkering” to make them perfect. The league Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik, had this to say about the days progress: We concluded our negotiations, I guess about forty-five minutes ago and we’ve been since that time meeting with our Labor Relations Committee. We started today at about ten in the morning and went through continuously until that time. It was something I guess over twelve hours of negotiations. I think we can say maybe for the first time that we feel we had a productive day. Unfortunately we are still far apart on a lot of issues but I think we did make some progress. We got closer together on some of the key issues and we just kind of concluded that we had gone about as far as we thought we were able to go for both of us today and that it didn’t make any sense to push it any further.

~ Russ Granik, After examining the issues of both sides, any reasonable person would see that the players deserve the millions that they currently earn. If one looks at the basic attraction of the National Basketball Association, the single reason why fans watch the game is to see players. Without the players, the owners would have no product and therefore no revenue. Many ask the question, “Exactly how much money do players bring into the league?” The answer is found in the start of the 19791980 season. Two future Hall of Fame …


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