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Friday, February 1st, 2013 at 11:40 am  |  21 responses

NBPA Director Billy Hunter Placed on Indefinite Leave of Absence


It appears that the end has come for Billy Hunter. His disastrous reign at the NBA Players Association looks to be over, this despite desperate efforts to hang on to the top job. Yahoo! Sports reports that the union has placed Hunter on an indefinite leave of absence today: “Hunter was informed of the decision on Friday morning, and it is the first step in a process led by NBPA president Derek Fisher to have Hunter removed as executive director, sources said. Union general counsel Ron Klempner has taken over as interim executive director. [...] The union’s leadership has retained outside counsel to help it through the suspension of Hunter, and plans to push the membership to oust Hunter, sources said. In a memo sent to players on Friday morning, Fisher said: ‘Unfortunately, it appears that Union management has lost sight of the NBPA’s only task, to serve the best interests of their membership. This is the reason I called for a review almost a year ago. The findings of that review confirm this unfortunate truth and we must now move forward as Players. Immediate change is necessary and I, along with the Committee Members, are committed to driving the process as difficult as it may be.’”

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  • Comment_System

    Knew this dude was shady.

  • Caboose

    Wonder if the players have the legal grounds and resources to come after him.

  • z

    Fisher with the big fat I-told-you-so. Glad they’re taking steps to oust Hunter. The guy’s dirty.

    The union needs fresh, educated blood in executive positions. Even Fisher seems to be a bit self-serving throughout this whole thing. He has no other reason for signing with non contenders other than to maintain a place within the union. His career as an effective player is over.

  • pposse

    is professional sports the only entity that have unions full of workers who are all millionaires??

  • spit hot fiyah

    Players with a capital P

  • KLS

    Nah. The doctors at our hospital are pretty well off and they are unionized.

  • shockexchange

    Billy Hunter reminds me of when people used to call Don King “shady.” Nearly everybody in boxing is shady … to be successful as a boxing promoter, you darn near have to be. A few months ago the Shock Exchange asked an NBA executive about the Billy Hunter saga and the guy looked at me totally unawares. When the Shock Exchange reminded him of rumors of double-dealing and nepotism by Hunter, the guy laughed and said, “That’s what you’re referring to? Everybody in the NBA does that.” He made it seem like it was normal course stuff for NBA top brass, and gave me a quizzical look as if I had said, “Did you hear that the sky was blue.”
    This all started with a beef between Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher. Fisher got mad and decided to “tell what had happened,” and “what he done seen or heaaarrrrd” and the media ran with it because they know what sells to mainstream America.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    Derek Fisher : 1. Billy Hunter : 0.

  • pposse

    i was gonna say that i’ve only hear of unions in job markets that cater to middle and lower class type employees. In the case of Doctors i can understand unions being formed in case of liabilities, but unions for millionaire bball players is kind of silly.

  • ratguts

    “..and gave me a quizzical look..”

    you just referred to yourself in the first person. ratguts thinks this is the beginning of the end of you.

  • shockexchange

    The Shock Exchange didn’t want you to confuse “him” with him and the guy the Shock Exchange was talking to. This isn’t the end of the Shock Exchange. But don’t take his word for it … pick a park and decide for yourself.

  • KLS

    Why was my comment deleted? Get it together Slam.

  • Irishway’s

    What go Fish… sorry sorry. Mr. Fish. Did think he had that type of pull

  • Ugh

    It’s actually really sad that people now equate unions solely for arguing for more money, rather than also for better working conditions and workplace autonomy. Anyone who works to a contract should have a collective process for the contractual agreement – it protects the worker’s rights over what can be a really long term agreement.
    Doctors, for example, can be contractually obliged to work 18 hour shifts in many first world countries. No matter how much money you’re making, a doctor 18 hours on the job is bad news for everyone involved.

  • http://twitter.com/Jzakoni Sanchez

    good assist fish.

  • pposse

    in terms of basketball i just don’t see how there can be better working conditions and workplace autonomy. It seems that the players union only step in when a player gets suspended or kicked out of the game and game checks or astronomical fines are the punishment. Basketball players hardly have to worry about long term health issues, they are provided with state of the art equipment to train, top notch trainers etc. No team is conducting practice in a dump and I doubt any team would (other than the Memphis Grizzlies maybe) if there wasnt a union to regulate this.

    I whole heartedly agree that unions are instrumental and serve a great purpose for doctors, teachers, coal mine workers etc. even in the NFL since it is such a violent sport and health is and always will be the biggest issue.

  • Rick

    The NBAPA ended up with a less-than-ideal settlement after the lockout. Shorter contracts thus less money being at the top of the list.

    Fish was (and is) not a great President – he gave decent lip service but I doubt he has much more merit to be union President aside from his well-versed speech (it reminds me of LeBron James in interviews – years ago it seemed he was detached, giving reporters “lip-service” – now LeBron’s interviews have what Fish always lacks – authenticity.)

    That said, the NBAPA adores Fisher as the elder, accomplished statesman. As with most businesses that suffer losses, someone has to pay. Billy Hunter is a great fall guy – hires his relatives to high ranking and well-paying positions while going over the head of the union to approve his (absurd) $3 million/year salary.

    Fish with the quick trigger. Got em!

  • shockexchange

    The number of “apprentices” in the L far outnumber legit players like LeBron, Melo or Rentacenter. During contract talks, the owners will continue to drive a wedge between the great players and apprentices. They will walk the players down slowly – lowering pay and requesting more non-guaranteed contracts – leading to another lockout. After missing several paychecks, the apprentices will balk and pressure the players association to sign the new deal.
    The owners’ “divide and conquer strategy” rendered Billy Hunter helpless. The next NBAPA President will also turn prematurely gray trying to fight city hall.

  • The Philosopher

    It is not the love of money that is the root of all evil… it is the LACK of money that is the root of all evil.

  • Lorne

    You don’t seem to know much about unions. Even the big, rich famous actors in Hollywood have unions. Why? because when big money is being made the drivers of that cash flow expect to be compensated.

    When a salary cap is in place in a business that generate billions, employees who do the same thing will band together to make sure compensation is adequate. The images and likenesses of athletes generates not just ticket sales, but merchandise and ad sales. Collective bargaining is the only way negotiations will be fair. Even an individual millionaire athlete doesn’t have the resources to battle billionaires in contract negotiations. You misunderstand the purpose of unions.

  • ClydeSays

    Can’t the players union hire actual business people to run the show? Shouldn’t the ‘President’ have some experience in Sports Business outside of collecting a paycheck or negotiating a contract. How about acutal Union experience? I dunno, just a suggestion…. As for Hunter, the players were fine with him messing around for the past 15 years or so. I doubt he woke up last year & was a lousy employee. Someone forgot to check in on him for a decade or so…

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