这听起来似乎是在责难球员。乔治城大学麦克多诺商学院（Georgetown's McDonough business school）兼职教授克里斯•沃斯说，认为自己一派正经的领导者往往给人一种居高临下的感觉。他说：“大卫•斯特恩说球员们会怀念支票的，但球员们显然明白这一点，所以他们会把这番言论视为威胁。”
沃斯曾经为联邦调查局（FBI）设计过人质谈判策略，后来创建了以谈判策略见长的商业咨询机构黑天鹅公司（Black Swan）。“我们的谈判分队经常帮助警方跟某个嫌犯谈判。警察一旦把嫌犯团团包围，往往会说，‘投降，要不然就没命了，’这样做其实只会适得其反，” 沃斯说。
While both the players and the owners would flunk out of Conflict Resolution 101, Stern has made classic negotiation mistakes during discussions; not necessarily in the terms he's presenting, but in the way he's presenting them.
"I wish the union hadn't done this," Stern told SportsCenter last Monday, regarding the players' decision to disband their union to file anti-trust lawsuits. "Their timing is not very good, and their rhetoric is almost humorous. [They] seem hell-bent on self-destruction and I think it's very sad."
That sounds like finger-pointing. Leaders who think they're coming across as no-nonsense often come off as condescending, says Chris Voss, an adjunct professor at Georgetown's McDonough business school. "David Stern says the players are going to miss paychecks," Voss says, "but the players already know that, so they take that as a threat."
If Stern were to say instead that he understands that players are concerned about job security during what tends to be a short career, that would start to ease tensions without coming across as capitulation.
A productive discussion starts when one side accurately restates the other's argument, Voss says. By saying, "I understand that you are upset because of 'X,'" you put the other side in a position where the only response they can say is "yes, that's right." It's a tiny tweak, and it actually doesn't change the content of the message, but it helps quiet some of the emotional noise around a discussion.
Voss used to handle hostage negotiations for the FBI and has since founded Black Swan, a business advisory firm that specializes in negotiations. "In the law enforcement world, we had negotiation teams talk to someone in a situation where they're surrounded by police who were basically saying, 'surrender or die,'" Voss says. "That was really counterproductive."
At this point, both players and owners enmeshed in the NBA talks will be embarrassed if they back down. The players might even feel like their autonomy is threatened, Voss says: "People will fight really hard, at a detriment to themselves, for the right to say no." And the owners falsely assume that players won't make a decision that will hurt them financially, like taking legal action that threatens the season. But many are often wiling to risk financial suicide over public humiliation, Voss says.