SBD/August 18, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

New NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts Discusses Next Moves In N.Y. Times Profile

NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts "was a long shot" for the position last fall when she was one of about 300 candidates, yet she "emerged from a monthslong vetting process as the person the players saw as best equipped to represent them at a crucial moment," according to a profile by Andrew Keh of the N.Y. TIMES. Roberts "will be the person articulating the players' agenda" during the next expected labor negotiation in '17, when issues like minimum age requirements and maximum salary levels "will be intensely debated." Roberts begins the job next month and "plans to essentially upend the union, which she dismissed as 'a mom-and-pop shop' under her predecessor," Billy Hunter. Roberts: "It was clearly run by Hunter without much input from other people. It’s completely inconsistent with the way any entity, let alone any union, should be run." She added, "The good news is that nobody was indicted from the union. There are fiduciary responsibilities that the union has with respect to all of this money it collects from its members, and that really was not being managed in a way that was consistent with the law." Keh noted Roberts' first priority will be to "create a management staff -- potentially doubling the size of the current union staff -- to improve oversight and bring more expertise to the organization." Free agent G and NBPA First VP Roger Mason Jr. said that pro athletes have "an acute understanding of the odds they had beaten to reach the highest tier of their profession." He said that in Roberts, players "recognized someone who had done the same." Mason: "It was a situation where the trust between the union and players was broken over the last few years. Once we spent time with Michele, we realized her integrity was impeccable" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/17).
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