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Billy Hunter voted out as head of NBA players union

Feb 16, 2013, 6:26 PM EDT

Billy Hunter AP

UPDATE 6:26 pm: In a press conference, players union president Derek Fisher confirmed that Billy Hunter has been voted out as union president.

The entire press conference lasted a couple of minutes and Fisher took no questions, then bolted out. According to reports the vote to oust was unanimous, but we didn’t get to ask Fisher about it.

Billy Hunter is expected to file a lawsuit in the wake of this. The saga isn’t over yet (at least until they reach a settlement).

5:16 pm: It’s not a surprise, in fact it was expected.

But it portends big changes in the direction of the NBA players union. And that includes the man sitting across the table from Adam Silver in six years negotiating the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Billy Hunter has been voted out as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

Hunter had been in this position since 1996 but a movement to oust him started during the lockout, when some players and agents felt Hunter was not aggressive enough or prepared enough for the negotiations.

The most damning evidence against Hunter came in an independent report conducted by a law firm that raised a number of ethical issues around Hunter and his management of the union. Those issues included a finding that his latest, $18 million contract had not been properly approved by the player representatives. There also were questions of nepotism as well as some odd investment choices with union money. All of the questions came back to the basic question of if Hunter was doing what was best for the players or what was best for himself.

Hunter has denied all this strongly and said that while he made some mistakes he violated no law and everything was done with the best interests of the players in mind. He had wanted the chance to defend himself in the players meeting but was not given that opportunity. He may not go quietly, but his removal has been expected.

The question now will be who takes over as the union chief, what kind of an organization he runs and how that sets up for the CBA negotiations coming five years from now? While a number of names have been through out there, including former MLB and current NHL union head Donald Fehr among other big names, the search is just beginning.

  1. jckid21 - Feb 16, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Shocker…..I am assuming all his family members on the payroll got shown the door too.

  2. phreakin - Feb 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    NBA Union continues to look like tools! Film at 11!

    • cosanostra71 - Feb 16, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      They would have looked like tools if they had kept Hunter. This is pretty much what should have happened.

  3. teambringitstrong - Feb 16, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Not sure how this is the union continuing to look like fools by ridding itself of Hunter. Perhaps you are privy to ‘insider’ info? Didn’t think so. Shut The Front Door.

  4. pellypell - Feb 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    When a player of Lebron’s stature personally speaks at a meeting regarding the ouster of the Union President, you know it’s serious business.

  5. rickyspanish - Feb 16, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Hunter is slimy.

  6. shockexchange - Feb 16, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Derek Fisher had a personal issue with Billy Hunter. His dismissal had nothing to do with his job performance.

    • mashoaf - Feb 16, 2013 at 8:38 PM

      He had a personal issue because Hunter attacked him after Fish raised the questions about Hunters investments…

  7. mazblast - Feb 16, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Hunter was weak, incompetent, ethically challenged, and financially rapacious. He gave himself a huge raise without even taking it to the Executive Committee. Fisher exposed Hunter for the greedy fool he is. So naturally Stackhouse (Is he still playing? Haven’t heard diddly from him in years) directs his anger at Fisher.

  8. ambitoos - Feb 16, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Looks like Derick Fisher will be moving on up.

  9. clownsfan - Feb 16, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    About time.

  10. rajbais - Feb 16, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    I am so happy this happened, but I’m surprised that there will be no legal action taking place in the very near future with Billy Hunter Trying to take NBPA money for an eventually unopened bank.

    I understand that labor laws are meant to be resolved away from court, but I am surprised that there is nothing criminal within the union to where the court system could convict him of some wrongdoing.

    I wish that the scheme that Billy Hunter was trying to pull, as well as him trying to extend his own contract without all of the players’ votes, was way more exposed or publicized during the lockout.

    If this was the case the players could have forced him out sooner because His tarnished image would bring bad PR. However, there seems to only be one labor negotiator that is on the market and that is Donald Fehr. Fehr Was presumed to be retired after his stint with major-league baseball and its players union ended.

    • mazblast - Feb 17, 2013 at 10:37 PM

      If I’m Fisher and the Players’ Association, I triple dog dare Billy Hunter to sue. Remember, when you sue, there’s this thing called “discovery”. The NBPA could use that to examine every single transaction Billy Hunter has been involved in, everything his kids have been involved in, everything his known associates have been involved in. A Hunter lawsuit would make following the money far easier, and that is probably the LAST thing Hunter wants.

      If Billy Hunter is smart, which is by no means a given, he’ll just go away and enjoy his ill-gotten gains.

  11. 24thesho - Feb 17, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Hunter was sneaky and dishonest. Anyone could see that in his body language and expression. I’m surprised it took this long.

  12. jcmeyer10 - Feb 17, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Yah, embezzlement is cause for termination any day.

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