The Legal Impact of the 2011 NBA Lockout

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

Research Paper: Strikes/ Fair Labor

The 2011 NBA lockout was the fourth National Basketball Association lockout in NBA history, and was Commissioner David Stern’s fourth lockout as commissioner of the National Basketball Association. It was the first lockout since the 1998 season. The lockout lasted 161 days and it started on July 1, 2011 and ended on December 8. It pushed back the start of the 2011 NBA season from the beginning of November to December 25th, 2011. Due to the delayed start, the season was lowered to 66 games. A team could not trade or sign free agents and the players could not utilize team facilities or trainers during the lockout period. The whole disagreement stemmed from a series of events, but what sparked it is when the owners began to stop working after the expired due date of the collective bargaining agreement in 2005. The primary issues separating both sides where the division of income and the arrangement of the salary cap and luxury tax. The National Basketball Players Association and the owners started to negotiate at the start of 2011. The owners were guided by National Basketball Association commissioner David Stern, and the National Basketball Players Association was led by Billy Hunter and the president of the National Basketball Players Association, Derek Fisher.

Owners projected to decrease the players’ share of basketball related income from fifty seven percent to forty seven percent but the players countered with fifty three percent of basketball related income. As both sides struggled to come to an agreement, the National Basketball Association elected to call off the 8 exhibition preseason games in December. On the 14th of November, the players rendered the union, making it possible for them to file anti-trust accusations against the league. On the 26th of November, both sides came to a conditional agreement to conclude the lockout. The contemporary Collective Bargaining Agreement involved a revenue split of nearly 50 or more percent and a malleable salary cap structure with a bitter luxury tax. After the unsettled deal was reached, owners began to let players engage in spontaneous workouts at team facilities on December 1. After the deal was affirmed on December 8, training camps, trades and free agency began the next day. It took big-time players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Durant and many more voices to reach an agreement with the owners and the league. Those big-time NBA players played a huge role on the outcome of the lockout.

There are many legal aspects that go into this case. The collective-bargaining agreement basically supports risk management. Risk management is basically the management of risk and requires taking as much action to reduce or prevent Harm or injury to other individuals. So with the collective bargaining agreement, it requires risk management because it ensures that players are playing and practicing in safe conditions and are exposed to less risk of injury throughout the grimy wear and tear season.

The antitrust law is a handful of state and federal laws that equalizes the behavior and set up of businesses. It was established to end monopolies and ensure fair competition between businesses, so that consumers could have many options and would not be controlled by a superior business that eliminates it’s competition. The NBA players union had the option to either issue a lawsuit for a labor law or an antitrust law against league. So they used the anti-trust law to file the non-statutory labor exemption which saved the products of collective bargaining from the antitrust law. But, by choosing the antitrust law they ultimately had to end the collective-bargaining relationship with the owners/league and loosing up their union by repudiation of concern to let go of their Collective Bargaining Agreement rights and go with the antitrust law rather than the labor law. The National Basketball Players Association then had to use the antitrust law to battle any limits set by the league and ask a federal court to not allow the owners to lock them out.

Liability is the responsibility for something that happens that is usually negative. This was also a discussable legal issue during the lockout because no player wants to get hurt during the off-season. The NBA players had to find safe places to play basketball and work out other than the National Basketball Association facilities. Many of the players were participating in many pick-up game events across the country, and some even had thoughts of playing professional basketball overseas. But If the players were to get hurt during the lockout, they would be liable for their own injuries because the league was not in charge and did not host the event.

Slander is a violation of the law that includes someone making an untrue verbal statement that is detrimental to another individual’s reputation. There was much criticism for David Stern because it was the fourth lockout he encountered as commissioner of the National Basketball Association. For a second, many forgot about the good things he’s done as a commissioner and commented about the bad. But, it was not libel or slander for people to criticize him because he is a public figure. But, if it had of been a player who criticized David Stern based on his past, he probably could’ve accused the play year of slander because NBA players are for the most part public figures. During the lockout, David Stern criticized the agents by saying, “By some combination of mendacity and greed, the agents who are looking out for themselves rather than their clients are trying to scuttle the deal.” What he said also could not have been a case of slander towards the agents if he named the agents because he is a public figure and they are not, which definitely makes it a slander case.

Now it seems as if the agreement has worked because the games are still being played, athletes are not complaining as much as they were then, and it looks as if he’s there history won’t repeat itself for a while. But every now and then there are signs that show that another lockout is possible, and it makes owners and players more cautious about their words and actions throughout the course of the season.

A strike is when a handful or more of employees stop working to gain influence in bargaining discussions. In order to be secure under the labor laws, strikes must be acquainted with labor dispute amidst the employees and the employer and the employees are never paid during the strike. The NBA lockout is considered a strike for fair labor, but it is very different from mainstream business strikes.in mainstream businesses, the owners tend to control the workers in basically have their way because workers can be replaced and workers’ salaries are not too high. But with professional sports strikes, the talent of the players cannot be replaced and the salaries are just too high. This means that if an agreement cannot be made between the players and owners, the league can be shut down just like the NBA was during what was supposed to be the preseason of 2011 and the first few weeks of what was supposed to be the start of the 2011-2012 season.

I feel that the NBA lockout of 2011 really did no good to the sports industry and its fans. The whole thing could have been solved before October, especially since they had all summer to reach an agreement. I feel that there was too much back-and-forth and that it was a huge waste of time. I also feel that nowadays professional athletes are getting a little greedy because they already make a lot, but yet, some want more and more. To me, it was like cutting off the mainstream radio and having to go to YouTube to hear the new songs that the best music artist in the world makes. To me, I follow basketball outside of the NBA so it was like I really didn’t miss anything because I was able to just go to YouTube and search up NBA lockout pick-up games and watch the best players play. But it must’ve been hard for the common mainstream NBA fan because the National Basketball Association is very exciting to watch and the thought of not knowing if the season will be played must have been a scary thing for them. But once the season started back up, many people realized what they’ve been missing and started watching the NBA more than they previously had. The lockout really taught the players that the season is not untouchable, which made them work hard to get things back to normal and it also made fans and media aware of the role finance and the collective bargaining agreement play in professional leagues like the NBA.I never really understood what the owners were capable of until this lockout. Before the lockout, I just thought they were individuals with a lot of money who just buy the team for bragging rights. But after the lockout, I learned that they do much more than just buy the team and they are capable of basically kicking the teams out of league facilities during lockouts.

Though there were probably better topics and cases to cover, I feel that the National Basketball Association lockout of 2011 was a good case to elaborate on because it was the most relevant to me since I am a huge basketball fan and love to play the game. The reason that I picked the National Basketball Association lockout of 2011 is because it covered many of the legal issues and aspects that we covered in class (risk management, liability, anti-trust laws), every sports fan knows about it, it occurred not so long ago, many people were affected by it, there was a solution to the problem, and it placed emphasis on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We never actually got to talk about the NBA lockout of 2011 in class, but I’m pretty sure that if we had more time that we would have definitely covered or at least talked about the lockout.

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