JaVale is being unfairly criticized for comments he made after leaving Friday's NBPA meeting. He said some players are ready to fold but the majority of players are standing strong. Then he said that the players who wanted to fold were told certain facts and they changed their mind.
The video of his comments are below:
While McGee should not have said what he did, it was not as bad as the media and Derek Fisher are making it out to be. He simply acknowledged what everyone already knows – there are a few players who want to accept a deal now – but made it clear that those players agreed to stand strong once they heard the facts.
Was it a good public relations move? No. But it brings up a larger problem with the NBPA’s media strategy. Have you noticed that Derek Fisher leads almost every press conference? Why is that? He may be smart and wear nice suits, but he is a basketball player. He has no major business or legal experience. He has never led billion-dollar negotiations.
There are people whose career is focused solely on major labor negotiations, people like Billy Hunter and the union's lawyer, Jeffrey Kessler. They are the ones who should be controlling every public statement from the union. Jeffrey Kessler should be the one explaining the fallacy of Stern's arguments and the absurdity of the owners' demands – not JaVale McGee. The players should be used as a photo-op to demonstrate support for the union’s message, they should not be the ones explaining it.
David Stern understands this. He understands the importance of a unified, coherent message. Not only do the owners not appear at press conferences standing behind Stern, they are fined $100K just for mentioning the lockout. On the flip side, the players’ union actually encourages its players to make public statements about the negotiations. This is an incredibly bad idea. Why would you allow JaVale McGee, or any other player for that matter, to give his unfiltered opinion of what just happened in a crucial NBPA private meeting? What are you expecting to happen?
Billy Hunter and Jeffery Kessler need to step up and take control of the negotiations heading into the crucial mediation on Tuesday.