A scathing 469-page report published on Thursday implicating NBPA executive director Billy Hunter of numerous faults has his job on the line. Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams became the first big-time player to call for Hunter's dismissal, telling CBS Sports' Ken Berger on Friday night that a change was needed in union leadership:
"I think change is needed, top to bottom," Nets star Deron Williams told CBSSports.com on Friday night, becoming the league's first high-profile player to call for Hunter's ouster as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.
"I don't think things were getting voted on like they should have been," Williams said. "... I'm sure there's guys that are still with Billy, and some guys that aren't. We've just got to figure out what the next step is."
The report, put together by an independent law firm, looked deep into the union's finances and their business practices under Hunter. While the report did not find Hunter criminally liable, it pointed out numerous wrongdoings that could cost the union chief his job. These include, among other things, "questionable stewardship of union finances" and "a failure to properly manage conflicts of interest." Hunter often created those conflicts of interest by hiring and doing business with family members.
The law firm also found that Hunter's 2010 contract extension was never voted on by the 30 player representatives, a violation of the union's constitution and bylaws. The report did not specifically suggest that Hunter should be relieved of his duties, but said there are legal grounds to do so because the $18 million contract was not properly approved. If this was to be done, the report says action should be taken quickly and a decision made by the All-Star break.
These latest findings only solidify the feelings of some players and agents who were not happy with Hunter's leadership during last season's lockout. Williams said he sat in on several of the negotiating sessions and did not like how they were handled, lamenting a lack of aggression which ultimately helped lead to the shortened 66-game season.
The players have about five weeks left until the break, so they do not have all that much time to get organized and get their facts straight. Who knows how many players will actually read the report, but as long as the player reps get their act together, an informed decision should be made.