Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- A National Basketball Association lawsuit seeking a ruling that it’s lockout of players doesn’t violate antitrust law should be thrown out, the union for the athletes said.
The league’s “theoretical, unsubstantiated allegations of a future antitrust dispute do not satisfy the NBA’s burden to establish a case or controversy of sufficient immediacy and reality,” the National Basketball Players Association said in its request to dismiss the case filed in federal court in Manhattan.
The NBA sued the union in August, alleging it had threatened use of antitrust litigation to extract better terms in contract talks. NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the season, which was scheduled to begin Nov. 1. The league and the players union started mediated talks on Oct. 18 to end the lockout.
The two sides are discussing how to split money from a league that had about $4.3 billion in revenue last season and what type of system the league will operate under. Stern has said the league’s 30 teams collectively lost at least $300 million in each of the past three seasons.
In its opposition to the union’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, also filed yesterday, lawyers for the NBA said their case isn’t based on hypothetical future acts but on the actual “antitrust legality of the NBA’s ongoing act, its player lockout.”
The NBA alleges that the union has threatened on more than two dozen occasions to give up its role as the exclusive bargaining representative of league players.
So-called decertification of the union can be a precursor to individual antitrust claims against the league, such as those filed by National Football League players after their labor talks broke down in March.
The case is National Basketball Association v. National Basketball Players Association, 11-cv-05369, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
--Editors: Mary Romano, Glenn Holdcraft
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