Comments! Comments everybody, comments! Commenting on NBA labor relations in a foreign newspaper! Your Charlotte Bobcats owner, that’s right an owner, actually discussed some of the issues at stake in this lockout. There has been this major threat and some have confirmed some major fines to an owner or anyone employed by an NBA team for mentioning a player or any of the issues currently at stake in the labor dispute while the CBA has expired.
Keep in mind, other than some procedural meetings between lawyers and various administrators, the League and the Players haven’t talked since the first of August, prior to that, no discussions for 32 days. But no talking there, none outside of those meetings either. Not even for an NBA owner, the most famous NBA owner, in an unofficial, actually golf-related interview in Australia.
The details for those that haven’t seen: Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated pointed this story out for everybody stateside this morning on Twitter. The Melbourne Herald-Sun had the story. As Ziller points out in his post linked above, Michael Jordan is so famous, he gets special appointments to things like the President’s Cup golf team as an assistant coach. Yeah, if you were questioning whether Tiger Woods would make that team, question no longer. It also is further evidence of his friendship with Bobcats Season Ticket Holder and President’s Cup Captain, Fred Couples. Another thing, the article still mentions how this is Jordan’s first trip “Down Under.” Only really, stupid-famous people get news articles and interviews about their first trip to a country. MJ is a big deal, if you forgot.
The issue that the league would have with Jordan’s comments were that he mentioned a player by name, ooooooohhh, scary; and secondly that he let it slip what the owners actually want out of this collective bargaining. Ted Leonsis, the new owner of the Washington Wizards was fined $100,000 for “unauthorized public comments regarding the league’s collective bargaining negotiations.” David Stern, as head master of the NBA Prep School for Wayward Millionaires said “We’re negotiating and that was one of our negotiating points,” he told the AP, “but collective bargaining is a negotiating process, and that was not something that Ted was authorized to say and he will be dealt with for that lapse in judgment.”
“He will be dealt with for that lapse in judgement,” what the hell? Anyway, on to Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan. I’m sure the interview went “So, Aym Jaye, what do you think of our bonzer bloke Andrew Bogut, mate?” (Don’t worry, I worked at Outback, I know the language) “Well, I can’t speak about individual players.” “Crikey Maykue! Yer killin’ me mate. I need something on our lone sportsman export.” Then MJ said a few things about how yeah, “he’s” a good player and a star and entitled to making demands.
The biggest thing you can take away from this whole deal will be two-fold: (1) if and how much Jordan might be fined and (2) the owners priority is a hard cap and revenue sharing (at least the small market teams). We’re seeing a little bit of the playbook in Leonsis’s comments and with Jordan’s yesterday. I have no idea why the league, Stern and the rest don’t want any mention of what’s going on whatsoever. It’s weird. You’ve seen the NBA and individual team’s websites and how they’ve been scrubbed of any mention of players, images, names any of it. However, the league is still opening up a store to sell jerseys and the like in mid-town New York. I’m sure those still have the names of players on them. So, other than just talking about on-going negotiations, MJ mentioned a player by name! I’m sure he should be in more trouble than Leonsis if you follow the NBA’s logic, that is, if the NBA league office is logical. He could be above the fray and maybe, so big that when he talks, the NBA may see it as separate from his ownership of the Bobcats, but I doubt it.
What do you think? How much will Michael Jordan be fined and is it deserved?