NBA owners, players turn to
mediation in bid to reach deal
The NBA and the players’ association are ready to try mediation, and commissioner David Stern wants results quickly.
Stern said last week during an interview with WFAN Radio in New York that without a deal today, when the sides meet with federal mediator George Cohen, his “gut” feeling was that there wouldn’t be NBA basketball on Christmas.
Owners are opening two days of board meetings Wednesday, and Stern wants to be able to bring a deal to them.
But can a mediator swoop in and smooth out two years of bickering in one day?
Attorney Jay Krupin, chair of EpsteinBeckerGreen’s national labor practice in Washington, said he doesn’t think so — unless the players are prepared to concede on some issues.
“If the players want to get back on the court, then this is a great time for them to try to show that they’re willing to make some type of compromise, and I think that’s what it is,” he said. “This is an opportunity to really determine whether or not the players are willing to make concessions. I think the owners are willing to walk away without concessions, so if the players really want to make concessions when they meet, that has to be expressed to the mediator.
“If that happens, then the burden turns to the NBA to say, ‘All right, you’ll be willing to make some concessions; now we’re willing to talk.’ If they’re not willing to make concessions, then the mediation would just go on for the day, and it’ll let the NBA know that they probably have to cancel, go through Christmas and maybe even the rest of the season.”
Injury, controversial loss won’t
send Hopkins into retirement
Bernard Hopkins has an appeal set over a controversial finish, and he’s got rehabilitation ahead for a significant shoulder injury.
When those issues are settled, Hopkins will have a new priority at the top of his list: finding his next opponent.
The 46-year-old Hopkins said he will not retire because of his injured left shoulder and the disputed call that cost him his WBC light heavyweight championship.
“I am going to fight again because I’m still the champion,” he said. “I believe I will be the champion once the proper channels are being taken.”
Hopkins watched replays of his fight against Chad Dawson on Saturday in Los Angeles and still can’t believe the bizarre fashion in which he lost. He was stopped for the first time in a 23-year career when Dawson dumped him to the canvas late in the second round. No punch, more of a push. Referee Pat Russell ruled there was no foul, and the belt was awarded to Dawson via technical knockout.
The oldest fighter to win a major championship, Hopkins (52-6-2) dislocated the joint connecting his collarbone and shoulder blade. He was scheduled for an MRI on the injured left shoulder.
Hopkins needs rehab no matter the outcome, but his next fight could be deep into next year if a severe tear or worse is revealed.
Also: Gov. Brian Sandoval reappointed Raymond “Skip” Avansino Jr. and TJ Day to the Nevada Athletic Commission.
The commission regulates professional unarmed combat, such as boxing and mixed martial arts, and works to ensure the health and safety of the sports’ contestants.
Avansino and Day will serve through Oct. 31, 2014.
Big East doubles exit fee in
bid to add six new members
The Big East Conference presidents voted to double the exit fee for football members to $10 million, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press.
Commissioner John Marinatto has a teleconference scheduled with reporters for today.
The Big East is hoping the move will lead to adding six new schools to the conference, including Boise State — in its first year in the Mountain West Conference — as a football-only member.
The exit fee will remain $5 million for the league’s eight nonfootball members, the person said.
The Big East’s plan to have 12 football members also includes adding Navy and Air Force — another Mountain West team — just for football, and Conference USA members Central Florida, Southern Methodist and Houston in all sports.
There is no timetable for extending invitations and no guarantee all the targeted schools will join. But upping the exit fee is a way to signal to potential new members that the Big East will be stable long term.
Also: UNLV junior midfielder Macy Jo Harrison was named Mountain West Conference women’s soccer offensive player of the week after scoring two goals and adding an assist in a 5-0 rout of Boise State on Friday.