Players react to labor breakdown
NBA players were quick to react to Thursday’s news that labor negotiations had broken off between the Players Association and the league’s owners in the 112th day of the lockout. Most of the players expect the league to soon announce more cancellations to the 2011-12 schedule.
Here’s what a handful of players had to say to Yahoo! Sports about the latest impasse:
Kevin Martin(notes), Houston Rockets guard: “Mediation didn’t work, so I think us players and owners should go work a 9-to-5 job in this tough economy. Then we might realize what’s really fair, and respect the game, along with the opportunities we have, a little more.”
David West(notes), free agent forward: “Derek [Fisher] and Billy [Hunter] have articulated the stance of myself and other players. We want a fair deal that represents where the league is at this point. The NBA is more popular than ever globally, as well as domestically, and we want a deal that represents that. This is not a shock to most of us because we heeded the warning from Billy three to four years ago now. We knew this was on the horizon. Now it’s a reality.”
Mo Williams(notes), Los Angeles Clippers guard: “We are where we were from Day One, in my opinion. As you can see it’s evident we have bent over backwards to please our fans, even though deep down inside we feel like [the owners] are just putting us behind the 8-ball. In all actuality, because of the fans, employees and people like that, you have to think about the whole pie. For us as players, we’ve given that all of the thought that we can. We feel like we gave up the concessions that we have to try to make this deal work. There are all these people that want to get back to work, including us. As you can see, the NBA is difficult for those things to be accomplished.
“There is always reason for optimism. Every day you wake up, you hope you’ll get some news that says, ‘Hey man, it’s time to get back to work.’ But unfortunately, it hasn’t been that way. It’s been over 100 days. Right now, we have to stay optimistic. Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher(notes) and the rest of the committee has been doing a tremendous job. Every meeting that I’ve been to, I’ve been impressed. Even when we get into debates about things that are bad, they got answers. They know what they’re doing. As players, we got to stand by our leaders. We know that they’re not going into the meeting not trying to get a deal done. We’re just going to remain optimistic like we have and hopefully one day [the owners] will have a change of heart and want to get a deal done. I just don’t think personally at this time they want to get a deal done. I think they want to lock us out. They want the public to think they’re trying to do something, but in actuality they’re not.”
Jason Kapono(notes), free agent forward: “Nothing new. We expected this. Players have been more than fair with our concessions. It’s unfortunate the fans, arena staff and other related parties have to suffer from the corporate greed on the other side of the table.”
Jarret Jack, New Orleans Hornets guard: “As much as we want to play, there are certain issues that we are willing to fight and sacrifice for. We all want to get back to play the game we love and see the fans – and that support night in and night out. But there are things that are hindering that at that moment.”
Kevin Love(notes), Minnesota Timberwolves forward: “It is unfortunate that after 30 hours of negotiations in front of a federal mediator that we were unable to have any major progress. Hopefully, we can get back to the negotiations and come to a fair agreement on the significant issues separating the two parties. Potentially more games could be canceled as a result of today, and it is disheartening to have no clear end in sight. Heading forward we will continue to remain united and wait for a fair deal.”
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