New York, NY (Sports Network) - The National Basketball Players Association
has begun a reorganization of its power structure by announcing that union
head Billy Hunter be placed on indefinite leave of absence.
Hunter has led the players' association since 1996, but has fallen out of
favor with certain players as well as agents for certain business and
"The NBPA announced today through its President, Derek Fisher, the formation
of both an Interim Executive Committee and Advisory Committee to move the
organization forward. The Interim Executive Committee consists of all five
active members of the most recent NBPA Executive Committee and was formed
pursuant to the NBPA's Constitution and Bylaws," read a statement issued by
the players' association on Friday.
After a recent report commissioned by the association found no evidence of
illegal activities by Hunter, there were findings of questionable behavior.
"In light of the detailed findings contained in the recent report issued by
the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the ongoing criminal
and civil investigations by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Attorney's
Office for the Southern District of New York, and the need to ensure an
orderly and appropriate meeting of the player representatives at All Star
Weekend, the Players have requested that the Executive Committee protect the
Players' interest and move the Union forward.
"The Executive Committee has begun this process by forming these additional
Committees, which will ensure that the best interests of the players are being
served and to provide full transparency to each member of the NBPA. Because of
the unusual circumstances at the Union, a result of mismanagement extensively
documented by the Paul, Weiss report, the Committees have decided to take
immediate actions that allow them to assess the situation fully and build a
stronger, more effective organization that better represents their
The first item on the list which the committees voted on unanimously was to
place Hunter on indefinite leave, in order to facilitate the process.
Hunter was signed to a $3 million deal back in 2010, but since it was never
officially approved, the above cited report empowered the players to remove
him from power if necessary.
Ron Klempner, the NBPA Deputy General Counsel, was appointed Acting Executive
"Unfortunately, it appears that Union management has lost sight of the NBPA's
only task, to serve the best interests of their membership. This is the reason
I called for a review almost a year ago," Fisher said, citing the review of
Hunter's leadership he called for in the wake of the lockout which forced a
truncation of the 2011-12 season.
"The findings of that review confirm this unfortunate truth and we must now
move forward as Players. Immediate change is necessary and I, along with the
Committee Members, are committed to driving the process as difficult as it may
be. We ask for the cooperation, trust and patience of the Players, their
representatives and some of our hard working NBPA staff as we navigate through
this situation. But rest assured that our goal is to do what is right for the
Players and we will emerge stronger than before."
The Sports Network