Tuesday, June 21, 2005

NBA, PLAYERS REACH DEAL

There will not be a lockout in the NBA. Commissioner David Stern and union head Billy Hunter announced a six-year tentative deal today. Main news is they set the draft age limit at 19.

I have to give everyone in the NBA credit for this on both sides. This league has had an excellent record for settling labour disputes (only work stoppage was at the start of the season in 1998). This has been a difficult year for the league with players getting into fights with fans and with players being primadonnas and demanding trades all over the league, but at least they have their act together as far as labour relations are concerned. And the NBA has shown once again that it is, in spite of its problems, an extremely well-run sports league that shows some consideration to the fans.

And I laugh at all the hockey-obsessed sportscasts in Canada, which can't help but compare the NBA negotiations (ho, hum) to the state of affairs in the hockey world and imply that the NHL ought to be embarrassed. Well, they should be embarrassed. They still can't figure out how to get a deal done over there, and they've had years to figure out something! In fact the one thing that a lot of hockey people were hanging their hat on as their excuse for not getting any deal done was that "the NBA has the same problem! They're going to lock themselves out, too!" Um, no, guys. They're competent human beings, unlike you.

The fact that the NBA has a deal and hockey still doesn't is yet more egg for the NHL to clean off their red faces.

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