The NBA and National Basketball Players Association will meet Tuesday in New York with federal mediator George Cohen, who once worked as outside counsel for the union, in an effort to resolve the 104-day lockout.
"For a number of months I have participated in separate, informal, off-the-record discussions with the principals representing the NBA and the NBPA concerning the status of their collective bargaining negotiations," Cohen, of the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS), said in a statement.
"It is evident that the ongoing dispute will result in a serious impact, not only upon the parties directly involved, but also, of major concern, on interstate commerce i.e., the employers and working men and women who provide services related to the basketball games, and, more generally, on the economy of every city in which those games are scheduled to be played.
"In these circumstances, the Agency has invited, and the parties have agreed, to convene further negotiations under my auspices."
Tulane law professor and sports law expert Gabe Feldman said the move is a step in the right direction.
"One of the main benefits of having an experienced mediator involved is he can remove the personal aspect from the negotiations," Feldman said. "You get a fresh set of eyes to look at positions the parties have taken and get an objective view of the reasonableness of the positions.
"There's obviously not going to be a deal unlesswholesale jerseys the two sides are sitting down and talking to each other. There has to be a reason for them to talk, and getting a new voice in the room is going to bring them together. What happens with that new voice in the room, and what benefit can the mediator bring?"
Cohen is an experienced, knowledgeable and respected mediator, especially in sports negotiations, Feldman said. "The hope is that even if he can't bring the parties all the way together he can at least start to bridge some gaps."
Cohen, who was appointed by President Obama as the 17th director of the FMCS two years ago, was the mediator in the recent NFL lockout and has mediated labor disputes involving Major League Soccer and its players and the Federal Aviation Administration and air traffic controllers, among others.
He was a lawyer for nearly 40 years with the Washington, D.C., law firm Bredhoff and Kaiser. Interestingly, Cohen did work for the NBPA as outside counsel during his days in private practice.
Cohen represented the Major League Baseball Players Association in its 1995 labor dispute and argued before now-U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, who ultimately issued an injunction ending the 1995 baseball strike.
Feldman said it is likely the mediator will meet mlb jerseys cheap separately with NBA and NBPA executives, then bring them together.
"A lot of the value comes in trying to get an honest perception of what each side is willing to give and not willing to give, and a mediator can get answers that the parties won't give to each other," Feldman said.
Using a mediator is common in collective bargaining.
"It's perfectly natural for the bargaining process to break down, and part of the process is the breakdown of the process," Feldman said. "There nfl jerseys cheapare mechanisms in place to bring the parties closer together. A lockout is one of those mechanisms. Federal mediation is also one of those mechanisms.
"The whole idea behind collective bargaining is you want the parties to voluntarily agree on terms. You don't want some outside party instituting their terms for them. Both sides want to avoid losing control of the situation and then turning from negotiation into litigation."
Before the mediator gets involved, Hunter will hold one of the union's regional meetings with players Friday in Los Angeles.
Also: ESPN, one of the NBA's cablecast partners, published its schedule for replacement programming for lost NBA games. After previously wholesale jerseys chinasaying they had been reviewing their options, ESPN Vice President of programming and acquisitions John Papa announced plans had been in the works all along.
"We started over a year ago and carefully pieced together a contingency plan in the event this occurred," Papa was quoted on the network's web site. "It's a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, with all of the moving parts.
"We certainly hope the NBA returns to our networks very soon. In the meantime, we're confident in the schedule we've been able to create."cheap nfl jerseys
Through games of Nov. 11 that ESPN would have shown, college football games and expanded SportsCenters will be shown.