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Volume 23 No. 29
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Goldstein takes lead WNBPA role

When attorney Evie Goldstein first walked into the conference room where players were interviewing candidates to be the Women’s National Basketball Players Association’s director of operations, the first thing New York Liberty forward Swin Cash noticed was her size.

“To be honest with you, she is small. She is petite,” said Cash, who is the first vice president of the WNBPA. “But as soon as she opened her mouth, boom! She commanded the room from her first word.”

WNBPA officer Swin Cash says director of operations Evie Goldstein commands a room.
Last week, the WNBPA announced that it had hired Goldstein, a Yale Law School-educated attorney who formerly worked for the MLB Players Association, as its second director of operations. She replaced Pamela Wheeler, who left in December. Goldstein will report to National Basketball Players Association/WNBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts, who has already garnered respect in the sports industry since she was elected in July.

“For me, we understand what we have got with Michele, but we needed a wingman in there fighting for the women, and I think we made a great choice,” Cash said.

Cash said she was impressed when Goldstein, during the presentation, started asking the WNBA players about how they shared rooms and cars on the road as was described under the working conditions sections in the WNBA collective-bargaining agreement. “She got equipped with our CBA and she showed her knowledge and how it directly affected the players,” Cash said.

Cash serves on the five-member WNBPA executive committee that selected Goldstein after reviewing hundreds of résumés, as well as conducting in-person interviews of 10 candidates.

San Antonio Stars center Jayne Appel, WNBPA secretary/treasurer and another member of the executive committee, said she was also impressed that Goldstein had read the WNBA CBA, a 300-plus page document. “She read through it and asked why did we do certain things and had ideas on how to improve certain things,” Appel said. “She already had ideas on ways to work with our CBA and get players involved in the union again.”

Both Cash and Appel said that Goldstein’s work for the MLBPA was a big factor in her selection. “Her experiences in the past could directly relate to and improve our union from the very first day,” Appel said.

At the MLBPA, Goldstein was associate general counsel for licensing and sponsorships, where she was involved in collective bargaining specializing in issues related to licensing, publicity and promotion rights for players. Goldstein was also involved in the creation of the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

“Evie is a very good lawyer,” said Don Fehr, NHL Players’ Association executive director, who was the executive director of the MLBPA when Goldstein worked there. “She understands players issues. She likes to work on their behalf. She is quick, straightforward and to the point.”

Most recently, Goldstein was general counsel for the Entertainment Software Rating Board.

In a brief interview last week, Goldstein said one reason she applied for the job is she wanted to return to sports. She also said that the first thing on her agenda is to meet with as many WNBA players as possible.

“My first priority, quite honestly, is to get the respect of the players, because as I learned from some of the best in my union background, if you don’t have the respect of the players you don’t have anything,” Goldstein said.

After graduating from the University of Rochester and Yale Law School, Goldstein began her career working for law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and partner James Quinn, who has represented many players unions, including the NBPA.

“She is very, very bright,” Quinn said last week of Goldstein. “She has to deal with the league, and I think she will not be a pushover. She is just a very accomplished lawyer.”