Back in high school, I used to fear picking up the phone.
Whether it was to call a local store, a potential job opportunity, or a female – I couldn’t muster the courage to press those numbered buttons and wait anxiously for an unfamiliar voice on the other end.
If you’re a lawyer for either the NBA players or owners, it should.
Because that must be the only excuse either side has for not calling the other since David Stern announced his final offer, saying there’s “really nothing left to negotiate about” and player’s responded days later by disclaiming as a union and filing multiple antitrust lawsuits.
“I think they’ve made pretty clear…that they’ve got no interest in talking to us,” David Boies, the player’s lead attorney, said in regards to the league’s lawyers at his Manhattan office Monday. “It takes two people to negotiate.”
Rather than find out if that’s an option, Boies announced the players would merge two antitrust lawsuits to expedite the court process.
But nothing will accelerate a deal and the possibility of a shortened NBA season faster than negotiating a settlement out of court, a process that can only take place if lawyers from both sides meet.
What are they waiting for? The pulsing ringtone of their telephones, for starters.
Because the union disclaimed and is now considered a trade association, Stern and Billy Hunter can no longer negotiate directly. It is up to lawyer’s from each side to set the conversation in motion.
Boies believes the dispute should be settled outside of court. And even said, “I don’t have any problem with making the first call.”
That would put the onus, as Boies stated, on the owners, right?
If you believe Mike Bass, an NBA senior vice president of communications, the answer is, “no.”
“Mr. Boies is wrong,” Bass told NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner. “As the union knows, we’re very receptive to negotiations without regard to who places the call.”
So let me get this straight. Both sides are receptive to accepting a phone call. And both sides are willing to place a phone call.
Then why hasn’t said phone call been placed?
An answer to this riddle is nearly as troubling as the lockout itself. It serves as a microcosm for the previous five months and 145 days.
Each side knows there is a deal to be done. Each side knows a deal should be done.
But they can’t see pass their own egotism and bring rationality to the equation.
We are talking about grown men here. Not 15-year-old boys.
Stop acting like children and pick up the phone.
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