Blog Entry

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

Posted on: November 1, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 6:54 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver


Taking a break during a protracted negotiation is supposed to allow for a reassessment period, to provide time for a rethinking of positions and, perhaps most importantly, to allow space for cooler heads to prevail.

Instead, tensions are reportedly mounting, with frustration and impatience threatening to boil over.

Yahoo Sports reports that some portion of the the NBA's players are growing increasingly disenchanted with National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter because he has not yet delivered a deal for the entire union membership to vote on. 
From superstars to midlevel players to rookies, there’s an unmistakable push to complete the final elements of the system and take this labor deal to the union’s 400-plus membership. Beyond that, there’s an even larger movement to push Hunter, the Players Association’s executive director, out the door once these labor talks are done. All hell’s broken loose within the union, and no one is exactly sure how they’re going to get a deal to the finish line.

“Billy can’t just say it’s 52 or nothing, and walk out again,” one league source involved the talks told Yahoo! Sports. “That will not happen again. It’s time that the players get to make a decision on this, and there won’t be another check lost before they do.”
The site also apparently confirms previous reports of a developing rift between Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher, a rift that Fisher denied in a letter to NBPA members on Monday night.
“Right now, everyone has to choose sides: Billy or Derek,” one player involved in the labor process told Yahoo! Sports. “How the [expletive] did it come to this?”
What to make of this? Well, in the absence of actual meetings, which provide the potential for progress and thus the comfort of optimism, there are going to be a lot of hurt feelings. Panicking isn't an unreasonable response, especially if a deal was relatively close but now feels far away. Union members demand action and results from their leadership. Both Fisher and Hunter signed up for that.

For months now, as far as anyone can tell, the NBPA's strategy was to not blink for as long as possible and hope that the NBA's owners were bluffing about being willing to lose games so that they could overhaul the system. The owners never blinked even though they had multiple opportunities to do so. The strategy didn't succeed and the players are now quickly reaching the point where holding out becomes solely about principle rather than about economics. 

Whether it's time for a leadership shakeup -- or for the current leadership to publicly mend fences -- is a sideshow to the larger issue for the players: It's time for a new strategy. Holding out for the sake of holding out is self-defeating and will be, ultimately, very costly. The NBPA should be using this time away from the bargaining table to take the temperature of its members. As the calendar has changed, so too might have opinions about whether holding out is worth it. If the majority of the NBPA's members continue to endorse the current strategy, then Fisher and Hunter, together, should blanket the airwaves spreading that message, rather than letting rumors and innuendo undercut their authority. If not, what are they waiting for? Call a meeting and get it done.

Since: Sep 13, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:33 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

I agree that some have been absorbed by sports to pathetic levels and have no concept of what the "real world" is. But this is coming from someone who posts ON a sports website. Your points are valid to an extent, but the higher than thou approach is contradicting considering the channel you have chosen to use to make your speech high atop the soap box. I can name you nearly every player and where they came out of college (all of which is useless information) and I can also tell you where our nations leaders are taking our country and the candidates behind them. I don't say this to boast, only to say that not everyone who uses sports as means of "mind numbing". Many use sports as a way to cheer or jeer for something that provides an escape from the constant battles and negativity the world brings on a minute by minute basis. You have some valid points that many have chosen to live in the media circus of sports than to focus on real issues and that fact is truly sad. Some are more distraught that their fantasy team is stuggling than the flawed school systems their children go to. My point is, not everyone who is enthraled in sports is the zombie in real society you speak so confidently of.

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:03 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

Players sign contracts for big bucks.  They are "independent contractors".  What gives them the right to a share of the owners' profits?  The owners take all the risk (hello season ending injuries, poor performances by players, etc. while still paying out contracts) & should reap their rewards.  If the players are worried about their "afterlife" their union should charge them an appropriate level of dues to address their concerns.  If I overspend into oblivion & went to my boss & said "I spent all my money & now I need a raise" my boss would tell me "thats your problem, not mine, now get your a** back to work!"

How about this.....  every player signs a basic 1-year contract, say $2 mil/year, & add incentives for team performance.  If the team doesnt perform, players would be able to sign with another team the following year.  This would ensure their best level of performance & interest in how the team performs, which would raise the quality of the product & increase the fan base.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:02 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

And yet you're on a sports website checking on your favorite teams.  Hypocrite.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:36 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

I would hope the players are split!  Really guys.  You make a ton of money.  A ton.  Are you worth more?  Maybe, maybe not.  Who cares?  So what?  Why don't you just get back to making a ton of money and be happy.  I what you guys can't afford and that is to miss an entire year of pay.  That's just silly.  Take what the owners have on the table for you and get back to work and back to making serious jack.  Be happy. 

Since: Oct 25, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:52 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

i hope the nba  loses the hole season.  the economic payscale of this league is a joke as is the guaranteeed contracts.  after these guys sign a contract they dont have to do a thing!!!!!!1  what other job gives that.  if i dont show up i dont get paid!!!!!!!!

and the product on the floor is horrible   the league is so watered  down, its full of kids who cant play, and full of overpriced veterans who are kept around because of their trade value,     all becuase of their guaranteed contracts.

now, not only is the economics of the game bad,  the product is even worse     
  i used to love the nba   mid eighties, early nineties,
now i can barely watch  and ussually only tune in during the conference championships and the finals.

the best thing for this league is a continued shutdown,  hopefully the full season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 

Since: Jan 4, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:11 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

 “How the [expletive] did it come to this?”

Maybe because you are all a bunch of spoiled overpaid uneducated idiots? 

Since: Feb 21, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:09 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

I stopped caring about the NBA when the Dream Team fiasco came about. Why should i watch a regular season game where at least one team just goes thru the motion for 3 quarters if not the entire game. My proof, just watch a team who played the night before and has a back to back. The playoffs are watchable but not really that compelling. My hope is the lockout continues until radical change happens and just maybe we get a better product.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 8:25 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

The NBPA average member's IQ is about 100....they're a little slow....

The players are under the mistaken impression Hunter and Fisher are working for ALL of them, when in fact, they are only working for the top paid 20-25 players in the NBA.

They might want to ask Kobe, LeBron, Wade, Garnett, etc...(who have made enough money to hold out forever) to either take a CUT, or take a HIKE, instead of asking Hunter to solve what his real clients are forcing him to hold out for.

It's ALWAYS been about economics- owners overpaid max contracts about $300 million a year more than the profit margin- a stupid mistake - and correcting it forced the lockout... The NBPA "concessions" so far, only give back $200 mil a year...Players have to come up with the other $100 mil before owners CAN consider lifting the lockout. This IS the biggest issue, the rest are lesser details...."Principle" doesn't enter into the accounting, nor does "pride", which is where the players are stuck...It's why the Federal mediator gave up after 1 day... It's 3rd grade math that's over the players' heads.

The easiset solution is to get the top paid players to agree to reduce the max contract by about $3 mil/yr. each, and the problem is solved, and no one else takes a cut...(Ironic, because these players make far more than that in endorsement money anyway)....or ALL the players can take a $300K / yr cut and the problem is solved...The situation CANNOT be solved any other way- the players have to get salaries below the profit margin so the NBA can make a profit, or there will be no NBA, period.

Eventually, the NBA will have to redraw a business sensible agreement, and go on WITHOUT players that refuse to play under it. Time is NOT on players side. What they are trying to do is equivilent to attempting an armed robbery by pointing the gun at their OWN head...sooner or later, owners are going to tell them to go ahead and shoot. 

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 5:36 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

Professional sports have a necesary purpose in our society. Bread and circuses. Sports are the entertainment for the ignorant masses. They occupy the idle minds of serfdom, so as to distract them from the events that actually affect their lives. The more time spent in the fantasy of sports, the less time spent in thought about reality. The fact that America even has pro sports is a direct product of our standard of living. It is exactly that standard of living that enables us to worry about how many points LeBron scored last night, rather than face the grim problems of trying to merely survive another day. Sports has so infiltrated the American mind, it actually defines who we are. People personally identify with individual athletes and sports teams, as if it had some type of real effect on their personal lives. There is something seriously wrong when the average schmoe on the street can name nearly every player on every sports team, but can't name their national leaders (rulers). There is something wrong when the average schmoe can quote numbers and statistics out the ying yang, but can't tell you anything about the government and the events that affect every facet of their lives. Yes, there is a place and time for entertainment, but that place and time isn't 24/7. Everything in moderation. Sports is a frivilous lark, and nothing but pure entertainment. The emergence of ESPN has made sports into 24/7, nonstop, mind numbing, meaningless minutiae. Let a nuke hit Chicago, and see how many people care about watching Monday Night Football. The point is simply this. See sports for what they are. They are a distraction, a way to escape reality, but only temporarily. Unfortunately, sports are being used like David Copperfield. An illusion. Keep your eyes on one hand, while the other steals your country, your wealth, and your freedom. Wake up people.

Since: Apr 13, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 2:01 am

Report: NBA players fed up with Billy Hunter?

I wonder if they all dressed up as clowns for Halloween because this has been nothing but a big circus.

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