NBPA exectutive director Michele Roberts thinks NBA salary cap is un-American



I am a players’ advocate. I understand that professional sports is a business. People come to the games to see the athletes, but also expect an experience. In a perfect world, players and owners are partners. The reality is, in business, someone will have to concede. During the 2011 NBA lockout, I felt the players buckled too quickly. I knew that they would see that the deal they agreed to really wasn’t the best deal for the collective.

With the collective bargaining agreement up for review in 2017, a work stoppage would seem inevitable. The players are taking notice of these big money TV deals, and looking at their share of that pie. New National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts is offended by the notion of a salary-cap.

“Why don’t we have the owners play half the games?” Roberts said, speaking in her Harlem office to ESPN The Magazine. “There would be no money if not for the players.”

“Let’s call it what it is. There. Would. Be. No. Money,” she added, pausing for emphasis. “Thirty more owners can come in, and nothing will change. These guys go? The game will change. So let’s stop pretending.”

“I don’t know of any space other than the world of sports where there’s this notion that we will artificially deflate what someone’s able to make, just because,” she said, talking about a salary cap — a collectively bargained policy that, in its current form, has constrained team spending in the NBA since 1984-85. “It’s incredibly un-American. My DNA is offended by it.”

Roberts believes this is a monopoly, remember, her specialty is labor negotiations. She’s positioning herself in the media to counteract the narrative the league has set up. This could get ugly, but with all that TV money in place, I can’t imagine it will result in a whole season being dropped.

“No one wants to say it out loud, but it’s a monopoly,” she said. “And were there alternatives, they wouldn’t get away with it.”

“I’ll give the league credit,” she added. “They have done a great job controlling the narrative.”