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Fisher asked to resign as players’ union president in fight for soul of organization

Apr 20, 2012, 9:35 AM EDT

billy-hunter, derek fisher AP

During the NBA lockout there were rumors and reports of conflict between NBA players union president Derek Fisher and union executive director Billy Hunter. They pushed and pulled in different ways. But for the sake of the negotiations, they tried for the most part to present a unified front.

But now those cracks have deepened and gone public for all to see — a fight for control of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) is on.

Hunter and the NBPA executive committee have asked Fisher to resign as president, according to both Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo and Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.

That came after Fisher had pushed for an independent audit of the finances and practices of the union, an audit that was killed by Hunter and the executive committee earlier in the week. We’ll let Wojnarowski explain more.

Fisher has flatly refused to step down and has been working to gather a coalition of players to challenge Hunter’s business and financial practices, sources told Yahoo! Sports. Fisher has told peers he will not resign, but rather fight Hunter for further transparency regarding the NBPA.

This showdown has been building for months and escalated in the past week when Fisher initially convinced the executive committee to vote for an independent auditor to look into Hunter’s regime. Nevertheless, Hunter helped to convince the eight members of the committee to change course and turn on Fisher.

There are plenty of agents and players who thought Hunter didn’t take a hard line enough stance during the lockout negotiations. To be honest, if he had we wouldn’t be talking playoff races today. But the animosity from those negotiations still lingers in the union (and among ownership, to a degree).

This isn’t going to end soon. Or quietly. From SI’s Amick:

But according to a source with knowledge of the situation, Fisher’s strong suspicions remain about the way in which the union’s business has been run in recent years. The source said that support outside of the union is growing among players and agents. And while the executive committee has made its stance known, there are plenty of others among the league’s 400-plus players who were highly critical of Hunter and the union during the lockout that ended in December and are believed to be behind this latest push.

Fasten your seatbelts, we may be in for a bumpy ride.

  1. ocgunslinger - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Unchecked power leads to corruption. Of course they don’t want an audit of their business practices and neither did the GSA. Based on his track record, I would trust Fisher to do what is the right thing for the union members.

  2. fillmore35 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Get em fish

  3. hwatt - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    what happens to Fisher’s role if he isn’t playing for an NBA team? dude is on his last lifelines as a player, Hunter and the rest can just wait him out… or can he just hang out as president indefinitely?

  4. glink123 - Apr 20, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Hunter is corrupt. This will end badly for the old man. Just watch.

  5. pastorstevelarson - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    Why would anyone fight an independent audit? Answer: You have something to hide. Fish may be over the hill as a basketball player, but he has always shown himself to be a person of character.

  6. jumbossportsblog - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  7. somekat - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Wait a second, a union is being run by corrupt officials? Just like 99% of the unions in the country? Say it ain’t so

  8. metfan88 - Apr 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Why do we all immediately assume its Hunter who is to blame? Does it not mean anything that the 8 player committee all had Hunter’s back and demanded Fisher resign? There were plenty of whispers that Fisher had sold out the players during the lockout and this just adds to that perception in my opinion.

  9. beefalo23 - Apr 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Key question is: Who cares? A union of millionaires. And the headline speaking of a “soul” In an economic entity?Ii know SCOTUS says corporations have similar rights as people, but no economic organization has a soul. Especially sports leagues & unions. Give me a break.

  10. ballrboy - Apr 20, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Anyone else get a sense desperation in the way Hunter has responded? Kind of like a dictator in his final hours or a mafia boss feeling the noose tighten. What do Hunter and Fisher each have to gain or loose if there was an audit?

    If audit goes forward, and no issues found? Hunter cleared | Fisher looks vindictive and petty, forced out.

    If audit goes forward, and issues found? Hunter canned | Fisher’s instincts were right

    Income at stake if either are fired? Fisher = $0 | Hunter = $2.5M+

    And, Billy wouldn’t be the only Hunter to lose if he got fired. His son, daughter, and daughter-in-law are all being fed by the players directly or indirectly.

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