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NBA union set to take turn for worse
The cowardice displayed by Billy Hunter’s hangmen tell you everything you need to know about where the NBA Players Association is headed after Hunter’s lynching.
Derek Fisher’s proclamation promising a union move toward transparency, integrity and professionalism in the absence of its nepotism-loving, mom-and-pop executive director is laughable.
Vic Mackey, the dirty cop in the TV show The Shield, did not clean up the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Mackey simply organized the chaos and did his best to keep the violence contained and profits flowing in the right direction.
You can’t fight crime with crime. That’s the point of Batman. Fisher, the president of the NBPA, is no Batman.
He is the leader of the posse set to hang Hunter this Saturday afternoon in Houston for the crime of running the NBPA for the past decade as his personal family fiefdom.
Backed by a carefully crafted, $4 million report written by the Paul-Weiss law firm, supported by a handful of powerful agents, encouraged by source-dependent, agenda-driven, objectivity-defying NBA journalists and inspired by self-righteous revenge, Fisher has silenced Hunter’s supporters and orchestrated an “unbiased” meeting where players will likely vote Hunter out of office without Hunter being given an opportunity to defend himself.
Saturday afternoon, at the annual NBPA All-Star Weekend meeting, the Paul-Weiss law firm would be available to answer the players’ questions about Hunter, Fisher wrote in an email obtained by Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Daily.
The prosecutor will answer questions in defense of the defendant.
“I give (Derek) a round of applause for being able to pull off this stunt and pull the wool over everyone’s eyes,” former NBA veteran Maurice Evans told me late Thursday night. “If he wants the union that bad — let him and Ron Klempner and Jamie Wior — they can have it.”
Evans, 34, was an executive vice president at the NBPA. He was perhaps the player and union rep closest to Hunter during the 2011 lockout and its aftermath. Evans is Hunter’s staunchest defender. After nine NBA seasons — he played last year with the Wizards — the career-long role player couldn’t find a job this season, which meant his role in the union ended.
“Without a doubt, I know me not being in the league has something to do with my support of Billy Hunter,” Evans said. “I’m fully comfortable not playing in the NBA ever again.”
Evans lives in Houston. On Saturday, while Fisher conducts his likely ouster of Hunter, Evans plans to be at a church in Houston speaking to young basketball players about the perils of NBA life and trying to inspire them to avoid the mistakes many NBA stars make with their money and in their personal lives. Evans said he received a letter from the union on Wednesday warning him that he is not allowed to attend Saturday’s union meeting because he’s no longer in the league.
“They excommunicated your boy,” Evans said. “They took my tickets, took my little status as executive vice president.”
Fisher is also not in the league. But, thanks to a brief stint with the Dallas Mavericks in December, Fisher is allowed to maintain his position as union president. Yep, the 38-year-old Fisher signed with the Mavs in late November, played nine games and then decided he needed to spend more time with his family. It was all rather convenient. Too convenient, according to Evans.
“They were able to circumvent (the system) by putting him on a team for a day and a half so he could be reinstated as president,” Evans claimed. “I don’t know who (are) the powers that be to put that in place, but D. Fish was only on the Mavericks this year so they could pull this stunt off, so they could get Billy Hunter out of office.”
I asked Evans whether players still have concerns over Fisher’s role within the union during the lockout and his relationship with David Stern. When the lockout was over, the executive committee voted 8-0 to remove Fisher from office. This fact is largely ignored by the NBA writers allegedly objectively covering the league and the Hunter-Fisher split.
In November of 2011, Fisher threatened to sue me for writing that members of the union confronted him concerning his relationship with Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver.
“Of course (the players) have questions about Derek,” Evans said. “But Derek has done a great job of being on the offensive and only pointing the finger at Mr. Hunter. (Derek) has been busy throwing darts and throwing dirt at (Hunter) that nobody has ever taken the time to stop and ask what is Derek’s motive. What really went on in Dallas that he left to go and say now all of sudden he has family issues, he misses his family?
“Now all of sudden what really happened? We voted him out 8-0 as president and yet he still stayed on, didn’t blink twice and came back with Paul-Weiss, and now they’re running the union.”
I have never defended Billy Hunter’s actions as NBPA executive director. He’s old, tired, corrupted by too much power and a victim of the union’s players lack of motivation to get involved in their own union. I’ve written from the very outset that Hunter needs to go.
Fisher is just not the guy to do it. Look at this process. There’s no integrity to it. There’s no professionalism. It’s driven by fear, revenge, greed and media cheerleading.
In a statement released today, Hunter argues that his disputed contract — the one Paul-Weiss claims is invalid — was, according to union bylaws, supposed to be pushed to ratification by Fisher, the union president. Hunter’s position is Fisher’s negligence is the reason Hunter’s contract was not put to a vote by the players.
You can’t fight crime with crime. You can’t fight a sense of entitlement with a sense of entitlement. You can’t fight personal agendas with personal agendas. You can’t fight dirty politics with dirty politics.
If you do, nothing changes. Nothing is going to change on Saturday in Houston.
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