Previously on “Days of Our NBA Union’s Lives,” a power struggle between Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter had the players calling for one or the other’s resignation. Billy Hunter had mobilized his constituents to try and topple Fisher from his perch as the president of the NBA Players Association.
The masses have gathered and Hunter’s side appears to have the upper hand. That with the executive committee voting unanimously on a request that Derek Fisher resign his position as president. It would seem the pressure is mounting on the Thunder backup guard and former champion and the horses are backing Hunter in this race and contest for power.
Fisher, in a message to the public, said he would not resign and that the allegations that he was not serving the union’s best interests was simply not true. The Union already seems to believe Chris Paul will be the union’s next president. Fisher still has two more years in his term as the union’s president.
The independent review that Fisher requested that seemed to kickstart this whole mess will happen. The Players Association will form a committee to hire an indpendent investigator to review the union’s finances. This move though is not a move away from the union’s request that Fisher resign his position.
As Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports, the union is hoping for a “graceful exit.”
Things might change further after Tuesday’s report that the Union has been paying Billy Hunter’s family and their businesses nearly $5 million in the last 11 years. Bloomberg reports that Hunter’s daughter and daughter-in-law work for the union and another daughter is a special counsel at a firm the union has used and his son is a principal at a financial and investment firm the union used for its financial awareness program.
These might have all been legitimate hires and legitimate business decisions. But it sure doesn’t look good.
“The involvement of so many family members who are receiving significant economic benefits raises enough of an ethical concern that an independent review seems required,” Rochester Institute of Technology Business Ethics Professor Robert Barbato told Bloomberg. “Unless there is a reasonable explanation for calling for his resignation, I’m especially concerned that the executive committee has tried to silence Derek Fisher.”
Maurice Evans, who floated Paul’s name out as a potential replacement for Fisher, said Hunter had answered questions about Hunter and the union’s hiring practices “to our satisfaction.” Whereas, Evans said, the union’s executive committee is still waiting to hear from Fisher and have him answer his questions. That might be why there is such a push to have him resign.
The latest report from the union paints Fisher in a not-so-pleasant light. And, considering many felt the owners ran over the union in the latest round of collective bargaining this past year, there is a lot of frustration.
Chris Broussard of ESPN.com reports that a memo sent by the union paints Fisher as something of a rebel within the ranks, missing out on executive committee conference calls and acting unilaterally in engaging a law firm to conduct the independent audit.
At some level, there is clearly dissent in the ranks. And this power struggle has ensued.
It does not appear this break in relationship had much effect on the bargaining that ended the lockout. The memo that Broussard obtained said Fisher has “chosen not to cooperate” with Hunter since January and that Fisher’s actions have drawn increasing concern over the past few months. It has long been rumored that some players were dissatisfied with Fisher’s work as President during the bargaining sessions because he hopes to have an NBA front office job after he retires. That could have been a major conflict of interest as Fisher executed his duties to the union.
One way or another, this is going to end with somebody losing their job. With the players union seemingly backing Hunter, the pressure on Fisher to resign is going to increase even more.