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NBA, NBPA agreement: Force majeure clause still in play

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community news, NBA, NBPA agreement: Force majeure clause still in play

The NBA and the National Basketball Players’ Association have reached an agreement that will ensure labor peace for the time being. However, the agreement doesn’t foreclose the possibility of the league invoking the force majeure clause in Article XXXIX of the collective bargaining agreement.

As reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the two sides have negotiated a near-term pay arrangement that addresses the league’s continuing shutdown on account of the coronavirus disease pandemic. The arrangement instructs that players, who are generally paid twice per month, will be paid in full on May 1. However, beginning on May 15, 25% of each player’s salary will held in escrow. The agreement also contemplates additional—and gradual—pay reductions should the league invoke the force majeure clause and cancel all or some of the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

Writing for Variety, Sportico’s Scott Soshnick adds that the withholding agreement ensures that players “would spread any lost salary over time instead of having checks stop immediately. Most players are compensated on a 12-month basis.” He also notes these funds will remain in escrow until there is clarity on whether all or some of the postponed games will be re-scheduled.

The withholding agreement ensures the NBA and NBPA will continue to work collaboratively for at least the near future and perhaps well beyond. The league clearly intends to resume the 2019-20 season if at all possible. Resumption of play could include playing all games in one arena without spectators. In that setting, players, coaches, staff and referees would be regularly tested and quarantined.

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