(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images North America)
After weeks of arguing who gets to have most of what they want, the NBA owners and the players union have decided to put their labor dispute in the hands of federal mediator, George Cohen. The 2 sides will be sitting down today with Cohen in the middle to see if he could persuade them to meet halfway on all of the issues they've been fighting about since July 1st.
If you remember, Cohen was there for the NFL lockout this past summer and the MLB labor dispute in 1995. So, the league and us fans, especially, are hoping he can do the same wonders with this lockout.
Cohen sat down with both sides yesterday to get the just of what each camp is trying to propose for the new collective bargaining agreement. While there's no guarantee how soon he can make the owners and the union agree on everything to end the lockout, there's some hope now that there could be a season (perhaps even a full one) with Cohen in the fray.
According to ESPN, the players wanted to spend the entire week negotiating, but the owners have 2 board meetings starting on Wednesday. That means that there's only at least 2 days for them to negotiate this week.
Commissioner David Stern had threatened to cancel more games if no deal is done today or the next time time they meet. While that remains to be seen, the owners continue to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to public perception on which side is more willing to make amends with fans by meeting with the players as much as needed despite of their board meetings to try to end this lockout as soon as possible.
I, for one, don't care about who's winning the PR game. Or who both side think should be blamed for dragging this whole thing out. At this point, saving the season should be the only agenda they need to worry about because allowing more games to be thrown away will make this lockout pointless if they continue this non-sense.
Considering all of the layoffs, all of the paychecks the arena workers are missing and all of the frustrations they readily handed to all the fans worldwide, I'm afraid the potential damage the NBA could suffer will be greater than what most anticipate if they allow their greed devour more games.