NBA union votes out Hunter as director
BY BRIAN MAHONEY Associated Press
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2/17/13 at 6:40 AM
HOUSTON - Billy Hunter was ousted from his job as executive director of the union in a unanimous vote by NBA players who said Saturday they will "no longer be divided, misled, misinformed."
"This is our union and we have taken it back," players' association president Derek Fisher said.
Fisher said it was a day of change for the union, which has seemed inevitable since a review of the union last month was critical of Hunter's leadership and urged players to consider whether they wanted to keep him.
"We want to make it clear that we are here to serve only the best interests of the players," Fisher said. "No threats, no lies, no distractions will stop us from serving our memberships."
Hunter said in a statement that he hadn't received word of his dismissal and blasted the interim executive committee for the process it followed
"In addition, given the legitimate legal and governance questions surrounding the eligibility of the members who voted and the adherence, or lack thereof, to the constitution and bylaws, I do not consider today's vote the end, only a different beginning," Hunter said. "My legal representatives and I will resume communication with the NBPA to determine how to best move forward in the best interests of all parties."
In brief remarks, Fisher said a new executive committee was elected and he will remain as president. The Spurs' Matt Bonner is vice president, Miami's James Jones is secretary-treasurer and the Nets' Jerry Stackhouse the first vice president. The Clippers' Chris Paul, Golden State's Stephen Curry, Denver's Andre Iguodala, the Hornets' Roger Mason, Jr. and the Clippers' Willie Green are vice presidents.
Hunter had led the union since 1996, guiding the players through three collective bargaining agreements and helping bring their average salaries to more than $5 million, highest in team sports. But Fisher pushed for the review after a falling out between the two leaders, and though it found Hunter wasn't guilty of any criminal activity involving union funds, it cited a number of conflicts of interests and poor choices that led the players to remove him.
Released in January, the review criticized Hunter for hiring family members and friends. It said he knew his 2010 contract extension wasn't properly ratified by union rules, and raised questions about everything from travel expenses to the amount he spent on gifts.
Players acted quickly, putting Hunter on a leave of absence on Feb. 1. He hoped to be invited to Saturday's annual meeting.
But Hunter's attorneys said their client was told he wouldn't be welcomed. They said his contract was legal and indicated there could be a lawsuit if the players removed him and attempted to withhold the more than $10 million that remains on his salary.