|Derek Fisher is refusing to resign as president of the NBPA. (Getty Images)|
The dirty laundry is out on the line, flapping in the breeze for all to see.
Less than 24 hours after reports surfaced indicating that the National Basketball Players Association, with the backing of executive director Billy Hunter, has requested that union president Derek Fisher resigned, both sides have issued statements on Friday.
The disagreement began when Fisher reportedly sought to conduct a financial review of the NBPA and Hunter. The two union leaders reportedly had differences of opinion on key issues during the 2011 lockout, particularly in the months leading up to the eventual negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Fisher addressed media members on Friday morning after the team's shootaround, making it clear he did not want to step down from his position. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported earlier Friday that Fisher informed the NBPA membership that he would not step down.
Here's Fisher's brief post-shootaround statement via The Oklahoman.
"The quickest, most efficient way to say it is to say that I do and I've always taken my job as president of the players association very, very seriously. And anyone or any group that questions my intentions or any decisions I've ever made that I've felt were best for our players, I think need to step back for a moment and ask themselves this: why would I try and ask certain questions and call into review the association that I'm the president of unless I thought that there were some serious questions that needed to be answered? Things that I, as president, aren't satisfied with. It calls my leadership into question in certain ways in terms of not being able to put certain controls in place.On Friday afternoon, the NBPA issued a statement, repeating its request that Fisher step down and accusing him of acting against his membership's best interests.
"I'll take the hits and the negative comments that may come or whatever may happen. But it won't take me away or distract me from doing what I feel is best for all of our players. This is in no way about me. It's about our membership. And so I won't lose focus on that idea. I'm going to continue to push for what is right for our players."
On April 18th, the NBPA Exec. Comm. cast an 8-to-0 vote that it lost confidence in Derek Fisher's ability to act as Union President, and requested Derek's resignation. The Executive Committee based its decision on numerous instances over the past six months, where Fisher engaged in conduct detrimental to the union, including acting in contravention of the players' best interests, during collective bargaining, declining to follow the NBPA Constitution, and failing to uphold the duties of the Union President.Also on Friday afternoon, NBPA board member Maurice Evans of the Washington Wizards told the Washington Examiner that the board hopes Fisher will step aside quickly and keep the distraction at a minimum.
To avoid further damage to the NBPA and its 450 members, the Executive Board again calls for Derek's resignation. The NBPA performs annual financial audits and shares the results of those audits with the Executive Committee, and Player Representatives at its annual meetings. The NBPA completed a financial audit in February, and will share the results of the audit with the Executive Committee and Player Representatives at the union's summer meeting.
Additionally, the NBPA conducted two business reviews following the negotiation of the 1999 and 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreements and with the support of the entire Executive Committee, the union will conduct another business review in a timely manner. We hope for a swift and complete resolution to these issues.
"From the end of the lockout to now, we have been dissatisfied with his actions. There's been a number of actions that have been questionable, and that have lost him the confidence of the board, not the other players, because the other players are not up to speed with what's going on.Update: Friday evening, Fisher issued a lengthy statement by email, insisting that he would not step down.
“So we've asked Derek to resign his position and allow us to separate from the union and leave with his integrity, and all the good things that he's done before this thing gets messy, because that's not what we're about.”
"As I stated in my letter to the Executive Committee, I will not resign.Yahoo reports that a potential next step could be a vote on Fisher's future that would include the NBPA's 30 team player representatives.
I along with many others are extremely disappointed with the Executive Committee. Their demand for my resignation and their need to protect the NBPA Management and their own best interests instead of protecting the players we were elected to serve is unfortunate.
I have tried to convey the legal and moral obligations we have as union officers. Sadly, the Executive Committee has now waged a personal character attack on me to divert attention from the real issue. The truth.
So the next step is simple. All players have a voice. Any and all players may request an independent review of the business practices and finances and a Player Representative vote can be taken at a time when all 30 player representatives can be present. A firm of the players choosing may conduct the review.
The allegations that are now being directed at me are defamatory. But I urge our members to order an independent review beginning immediately and that will be proven along with finding out definitively if there are any issues with the NBPA's business practices and finances."
An 8-0 vote certainly seems to put Fisher on an island and the "acting in contravention of the players' best interests" shot is about as direct as it gets. The timing here is particularly difficult, as his Oklahoma City Thunder prepare to make a deep playoff push beginning next week. The Thunder don't tolerate distractions, and this certainly qualifies. Fisher said he's willing to take the shots. But how many, for how long and at what cost?
This is looking more and more like a coup.