Though we're essentially accusing the NBA of negotiating in bad faith when we assume as much, just about everyone involved with this NBA lockout has long suspected that the NBA didn't want to make a major move in discussions with its players until the first canceled games and wave of missed paychecks took hold. With an unproductive Monday meeting in its rear-view mirror, the league canceled the first two weeks of the regular season on Monday night, and most guesswork had the NBA failing to schedule another meeting until the weight of the missed checks took hold. Not until the proverbial screws had been tightened.
Encouraging news came down the pike on Wednesday, though, as it appears a federal mediator will step in to help broker a deal between the two sides next Monday.
Wednesday, National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter said the sides will be meeting with a federal mediator Monday to help end the lockout.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said in a text, "We are working on scheduling a meeting for early next week."
Hunter, who revealed the news on WFAN-AM Radio in New York, first will be holding one of the regional meetings the union has staged during the lockout in Los Angeles on Friday.
This is, of course, a good thing.
"We agreed, as of today, that we're going to meet with a federal mediator on Monday," Hunter told WFAN's Mike Francesa in the interview. A league spokesman confirmed that the sides were "working on scheduling a meeting for Monday" with a mediator.
Great for the fans, very much appreciated by the players who are watching as David Stern busts out his giant screwdriver, and certainly appreciated by the untold thousands who are set to lose income because of missed NBA games.
Should the federal government be getting involved in the world of sports? Your take on that probably falls along the lines of whether or not they should be getting involved in the resurrection of failing automotive companies. One thing you can say about a federal mediator helping end the NBA lockout is that it can't possibly be compared to the showy, performance-enhancing drugs Capitol Hill meetings from 2005. No real American jobs were in danger because Rafael Palmeiro 'roided up.
Jobs and livelihoods, and not just of starting point guards, are in danger with this NBA lockout. Let's hope this mediator can help end the posturing before it's too late.
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