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NBA停摆掌门人是头号罪人

Shelley DuBois 2011年11月25日

NBA停摆风波中,总裁大卫•斯特恩在与球员工会磋商期间,犯了几个经典的谈判错误。

    一群百万富翁聚在一起,斤斤计较地抱怨收入的细微变化时,没有一个人的姿势是漂亮的。NBA球员工会与球队老板本月爆发的最新一轮混战,就是一个很好的例子。

    双方的谈判实际上已经嘟嘟囔囔地延续了大约两年半了。老板们一直在想着法子增加球队的利润——他们说,有些球队是赔钱的买卖。双方已经在如何分割收入等财务细节上你来我往地争执了好几个回合。上周一,由律师代表的球员们拒绝接受代表联盟球队老板的NBA总裁大卫•斯特恩提出的一项协议。如何分配球员工资是双方产生分歧的另一个焦点问题。老板们希望建立更严格的工资上限规则;球员当然不愿意。

    这些障碍促使球员和老板双方都采取了法律行动,从而有可能使NBA陷入诉讼风暴,报销2011-2012整个赛季。上周,球员们已经错过了本赛季的第一张薪金支票,每少打一场比赛,他们都将损失一笔钱。老板们同样也会赔钱,但许多老板仍然在咬牙坚持,要求达成更有利的协议,以便更好地保护其球队盈利水平。

    尽管这次停摆事件涉及许多愤怒的富翁,但肯定需要一个出头的人。有鉴于此,“大卫•斯特恩最终将成为替罪羊。”明尼苏达州大学的体育管理学教授斯蒂芬•罗斯说。

    斯特恩在冲突中为球队老板代言毕竟是他应尽的本份。但这位NBA总裁(他拒绝接受本文作者采访)在引导这次谈判期间犯了几个重大错误。路易斯安那州立大学(Louisiana State University)运动学系的体育管理专家乍得•塞弗里德认为,这些失误令人遗憾。“因为人们说起大卫•斯特恩的遗产,肯定认为他是职业体育史上最伟大的总裁之一,”他说。

    斯特恩担任NBA总裁的时间已接近30年,指导联盟做出了几项重大变革。去年,NBA获得了差不多40亿美元与篮球相关的收入,是斯特恩于1984年接任总裁一职时的20倍。然而,保证一个健康运行的球员对话机制延续这么长时间,却没有那么容易。这些年来,斯特恩肯定得罪了不少人,最终导致了目前的僵局。这次停摆事件引发的对立情绪有可能使斯特恩的职业生涯蒙上污点,塞弗里德说。

 

    When a bunch of millionaires get together to complain about what seems like marginal shifts in income, no one looks pretty. This month's case in point: the latest scuffle between the NBA's players association and the teams' owners.

    The negotiations have actually been rumbling for about two-and-a-half years. Owners have been trying to figure out how to make their teams more profitable -- they say some are losing money. The two sides have ping-ponged over how to split revenue and other financial details. Last Monday, the players, represented by their lawyers, refused to accept an agreement put forth by NBA Commissioner David Stern, who represents the league's team owners. Among other sticking points, the two sides disagreed about how to allocate players' pay. Owners want tougher rules on salary caps; players, of course, don't.

    The roadblock has sparked both players and owners to take legal action that could ensnare the NBA in litigation and sink the 2011-2012 season. The players already missed their first paycheck last week, and they will keep losing money with every missed match. The owners lose money on lost games too, but many want to hold out for an agreement that will better protect the profitability of their franchises.

    Even though there are plenty of angry wealthy people involved, one person stands out as the poster child for the lockout. For this one, says University of Minnesota sports management professor Stephen Ross, "The fall guy is going to end up being David Stern."

    It is, after all, Stern's job to speak for the owners during a conflict. But the commissioner, who declined to comment for this story, has made key mistakes while steering this discussion. That's too bad, according to Chad Seifried, a sports management expert at Louisiana State University's kinesiology department. "If you think about David Stern's legacy, he's certainly known as one of the great commissioners that we've had in professional sports," he says.

    Stern has served as commissioner for close to 30 years and has overseen major changes at the league. Last year, the NBA generated almost $4 billion in basketball-related income, a twenty-fold increase since Stern took over as commissioner in 1984. Yet, it's hard to keep a healthy running dialogue with players for that long, and Stern has antagonized many, leading up to the current stalemate. Hard feelings about this lockout, Seifried says, could tarnish Stern's career.

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