HUNTER FLOATS POSSIBLE COMPROMISE; BARKLEY BACKS OFF BOYCOTT
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).