HOUSTON — Reporters in the room didn’t get to ask questions. Billy Hunter didn’t even get that from the NBA players union and president Derek Fisher, after they announced publicly that they had terminated him from the position of executive director.
Hunter and his representatives were still saying Saturday evening that they hadn’t received official notice that he had been voted out at the National Basketball Players Association annual All-Star meeting. He was not allowed to attend the afternoon meeting to defend himself. So, he issued a statement suggesting that the way in which his ouster was handled is “indicative” of the union’s actions in the weeks since his business practices were questioned. And he seemed to assure Fisher’s prediction things might proceed in “an ugly way” for a while.
Here is the statement from Hunter, the NBPA’s executive director since 1996, as posted on www.gbillyhunter.blogspot.com
I have yet to receive any notification, other than published news reports, that the NBPA has terminated my employment. If accurate, it is indicative of the extremely troubling process followed by the NBPA during the past few weeks. During the days and weeks ahead, my legal team and I will begin carefully reviewing the actions taken and statements made against me in the meeting room in my absence. I look forward to gathering the evidence showing how certain individuals made sure the outcome was pre-ordained.
After 17 years of representing NBA players during CBA negotiations and defending their rights in other proceedings, not once was there an occasion where one side was denied an opportunity to be heard. The current interim regime in control of the NBPA has set a terrible precedent for the union. It violates every tenet of fairness upon which the union was founded. Now that this has occurred, I will continue to examine all of my options, including whether the fairness that was absent from the NBPA process might be available in a different forum. 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. 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.