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HUNTER FLOATS POSSIBLE COMPROMISE; BARKLEY BACKS OFF BOYCOTT
Published December 11, 1997
NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter said that Warriors officials have told him that "some sort of olive branch might be extended or the door might be left ajar somewhat to give us the opportunity to work something out" regarding Latrell Sprewell's contract termination and one-year suspension, according to Chris Sheridan of the AP. Hunter said he had not spoken to NBA Commissioner David Stern, and NBA VP/Communications Brian McIntyre said he hadn't "heard anything about it (a compromise)" (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 12/11). ROUNDABOUT: Charles Barkley appeared on CNN's "Crossfire" last night and did "an abrupt about-face" on his call for NBA players to boycott certain events, including the league's All-Star Game. Barkley: "We're not going to boycott anything for Latrell Sprewell" (USA TODAY, 12/11). On MSNBC's "The Big Show," Barkley said his comments about boycotting were "a little inaccurate." Barkley: "That's directed toward the owners if they open up the [CBA]." Barkley, on the race issue: "I was disappointed that they brought in Johnnie Cochran, because this is not a white and black thing, this is a stupid thing one of our players did, and us trying to defend him." Barkley, on the state of the NBA: "[W]e as players and owners and coaches, we are just destroying the game" ("The Big Show," MSNBC, 12/10). BARKLEY BACKERS: Michael Jordan, on Barkley's boycott comments: "I always will support the players in whatever way I can" (Terry Armour, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/11). In N.Y., Seifman & Kernan write that players, including the Knicks' Chris Childs, "indicated yesterday they would back" any protest by Barkley (N.Y. POST, 12/11). SUPPORT FOR LEAGUE: A WALL STREET JOURNAL editorial supports the league's stance, stating NBA Commissioner David Stern "understands perfectly his role, which is protecting the value of his brand name" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/11). LATE-NIGHT LAUGHS: On last night's "Late Show," David Letterman said that Johnnie Cochran has "a defense lined up for Latrell. He said, 'Latrell couldn't have possibly have strangled his coach because he was out playing golf at the time.'" Letterman's No. 3 "Sign You've Hired A Bad Department Store Santa": "Was recently suspended from the NBA for choking his coach" ("Late Show," CBS, 12/10). NBC's Jay Leno: "Latrell came off pretty good, he came off good. What better way to look honest than standing next to Johnnie Cochran?" ("Tonight Show," NBC, 12/10).