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NBA Season In Jeopardy As Players' Union Begins To Disband

Publication Date: 
November 14, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner

Professor Bill Gould spoke with Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times on the decision by the NBA Players' Union to disband and file a "disclaimer of interest" and why he thinks it's an "extraordinary gamble" on their part.

The prospects for a 2011-12 NBA season might have ended Monday.

The 138th day of the NBA lockout failed to land a deal between players and owners, prompting Commissioner David Stern's ominous midday statement that the season was "now in jeopardy."

The players' union began the process of disbanding and filed a "disclaimer of interest" so it could soon deliver a more weighty document — an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA in which players could claim the league conspired to prevent them from marketing themselves and making a living.


"One theory could be that they think this would scare Stern," said Bill Gould, a Stanford law professor and former NLRB chairman. "That's really an extraordinary gamble."

Players' contracts could be deemed void because their union decided to dissolve, though it was unlikely the NBA would take such an action.

On the other hand, Stern said owners would not be bullied into going back to the negotiating table.

"That's not happening," he said flatly.