LOCKED OUT: How labour Strife Has Changed Professional Sports

2004 NHL Lockout

Photo: AP

The 2011 year in sports may forever be known more for battles in the courtroom than battles on the court (or field).But this is nothing new. labour disputes have affected every major professional sport at one time or another.

Often costing players and owners large sums of money. And fans a chance to watch the games they love.

There have been a number of work stoppages in the previous 30 years, and they’ve all – eventually – ended in handshakes.

We can only hope the same happens with the NBA. Sooner rather than later.

1981 MLB Strike

1982 NFL Strike

Beginning: Sept. 21

End: Nov. 16

Games lost: Season shortened to nine games, and a special 16-team playoff tournament was adopted

Players struck as their demands soared. They wanted a wage scale based on seniority and 55 per cent of gross league revenue. The strike essentially ended when a sect of players revolted against their own union, forcing the resignation of their executive director, Ed Garvey. A five-year agreement was reached providing severance packages for retired players, bonuses based on years of service, and moderate salary increases.

1987 NFL Strike

1994 MLB Strike

Beginning: Aug. 12

End: April 2, 1995

Games lost: Between 931-948 (depending on potential length of postseason)

With baseball's finances suffering, owners proposed a solution: a salary cap. Player's balked immediately. When a Senate Judiciary Committee denied MLBPA's antitrust legislation, player's felt they were left with no choice but to strike. Court battles went on for months; with President Bill Clinton even getting involved and ordering the sides to reach an agreement. In March, future Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an injunction against owners. A Court of Appeals supported her decision, denying the owner's request to stay the ruling. A deal was struck the day before the season's scheduled opening day. The strike was responsible for the first-ever cancellation of a professional sport's postseason due to labour disputes.

1994 NHL Lockout

Beginning: Oct. 1

End: Jan. 11 1995

Games lost: 468

The argument largely centered on free agency. The NHL also wanted to tie salaries to league revenue to subsidise smaller market teams, while players believed that should come from the owners via revenue sharing. The lockout ended when large market teams like Detroit and Philadelphia, among others, acknowledged losing games was more costly than holding out.

1998 NBA Lockout

2004 NHL Lockout

2011 NFL Lockout

Beginning: March 11

End: July 25

Games Lost: Zero

Owners voted in 2008 to dismiss the collective bargaining agreement after the 2010 season. Owners hoped to establish a rookie wage scale, gain a larger percentage of league revenue, implement stricter drug testing and extend the regular season to 18 games. Concerned about salary loss and health concerns by playing more games, players voted to decertify and file antitrust lawsuits against the league. In April, a judge invalidated the lockout and ordered the league to resume operations. But an appeals court granted the league a temporary stay just four days later. Negotiations eventually led to an agreement with players making serious concessions. Players gave up a significant portion of income and agreed to a rookie pay scale, but an 18-game schedule was shelved.

2011 NBA Lockout

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