A threatened players' strike over non-payment of salary almost cancelled last night's games, but a promise by league commissioner Dan Kurtzer to resolve the problem let the 23-day-old league continue on schedule. Players were upset that they had received checks for half of the amount they were owed - players are being paid $2,000 for the season, paid out in four payments of $250 over the course of the season.
The threatened strike was led by the Dominican players, which eventually included about half of the league. The players formed a makeshift union led by one of the players who is a lawyer, and met with league commissioner Dan Kurtzer at noon yesterday on the basketball court in Kfar Hayarok, where the players are dorming. Some of the players took video recordings of the meeting.
"Kurtzer didn't give anyone any straight answers, and said if the players were going to strike he would cancel the league," said one player. "The IBL was close to striking, it was surreal."
There are probably a dozen different jokes one could make out of this, but if the IBL is near folding because it can't come up with a couple of hundred bucks per player, it is the league itself that is a joke. This is especially true in light of the fact that the league's executive staff and advisory committee consists of heavy hitters like Dan Duquette, the Selig family, Andrew Zimbalist, and Randy Levine.