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NBA's David Stern and referees break off contract talks

September 10, 2009 |  2:42 pm

Dstern Gentlemen, start your sniping.

Negotiations between the NBA and its referees over a new contract broke down this week, and negotiators are doing the labor equivalent of calling a technical foul on the other side.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said he'd remove himself from any future negotiations after the referees union accused him of acting childish. "Hopefully we'll make a deal with the referees, or we won't, but it won't be on the basis of personality; it'll be on the basis of economics," Stern said.

Countered Lamell McMorris, spokesman for the union, "David Stern does not negotiate. He tells you what's going to happen, and then when you don't do it, and do something differently, he whines and acts like a child."

The referees' contract with the NBA expired Sept. 1. The league's first preseason game is on Oct. 1, with the regular season set to open Oct. 27. There have been reports that if no deal is reached, the NBA will use replacement officials to call the games, possibly officials from the NBA Development League.

-- Barry Stavro

Photo: David Stern in 2008. Credit: Greg Smith / Associated Press