SBD/February 15, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

With His Job In Jeopardy, Billy Hunter Creates Blog To Refute Claims In Report

Suspended NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter has created a new blog designed to take "his case to the people,” according to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. Hunter’s future with the NBPA “is expected to be decided at the union’s annual meeting Saturday at All-Star Weekend.” In the attempt to "leverage his way to an audience with the players," a team of attorneys Friday morning announced the new blog. The attorneys announced Hunter's new blog was "simply designed for two purposes.” The first is to “keep many of you updated on the status of Mr. Hunter’s position with the NBPA.” The second is to provide a “strong preliminary rebuttal to the Paul Weiss Report.” Aschburner notes Hunter in the report was “found to have employed family members, paying them and their professional firms" nearly $4.8M since '01. Friction between Hunter and NBPA President Derek Fisher “has its roots in the league’s 2011 lockout.” Fisher’s role “also is in question, if only because he currently is not an active NBA player.” Some players have "urged a sweep of the union’s hierarchy, including Hunter, Fisher and the executive committee.” A source said that the meeting Saturday, initially “scheduled for morning, has been moved to mid-day to accommodate players’ travel needs.” Aschburner notes anticipating "resistance to allowing him [to] counter the charges in person, Hunter’s ‘blog’ features links to a 21-page preliminary response, an executive summary and a PowerPoint presentation intended for the players” (NBA.com, 2/15). CBSSPORTS.com’s Ken Berger notes Hunter's legal team "believes the Paul Weiss report is rife with inaccuracies with respect to hiring, vacation payout, investment strategy and other business practices." Hunter’s attorney, Michael Carlinsky, said, "The report also does not cite to a single NBPA policy or rule that Mr. Hunter allegedly violated. The report can best be characterized as one law firm's judgment by hindsight with which we respectfully disagree." Hunter had “hoped to attend the players' meeting" Saturday, but he "wasn't invited” (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/15).
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