Unfair labor practices. That's what it's come to in the NBA, with the players association taking the unprecedented step of going to the National Labor Relations Board and filing two unfair labor practice chargers against the NBA. One of them is about the new basketball. The other is about their right to complain to the refs.
There's a little bit of irony in the fact that the players are attempting to protect their right to bitch by bitching to someone else. I bet the players union assigned Rasheed Wallace to go into the NLRB offices, throw his headband and yell, "This is some bullshit!"
Now, I'm as annoyed by David Stern's dictator act as anyone else, but ... unfair labor practices? That's not a term I'd associate with being unable to scream and cry and slow down the game by chewing Dick Bavetta's ear off. If the same charges were filed by a dude who works 9 - 5 every day at Initech, I don't think the NLRB is going to have a lot of sympathy for him because he can't scream "Oh, that call is fucked up!" at his boss without repercussions.
As far as the complaints about the new basketball, I'm a little more sympathetic there. I'm still not going to shed any tears for the players, but ESPN's Chris Sheridan writes in his blog (Insider) that the ball is actually causing tiny paper-cut-like abrasions on the hands of players. Yeah, that would suck. I probably wouldn't like it if Will made me type on a keyboard covered in broken glass.