Fisher issues letter to NBA players slamming report, urging solidarity
Players' association president Derek Fisher wrote to all NBA players Monday
He denied a report that he was challenged by Billy Hunter, other union member
Fisher also urged players to "stand united" and continue to press for a fair deal
NBA union president Derek Fisher emailed a letter to his fellow players Monday urging them to stand fast for a "fair" deal in their negotiations with the owners.
In the letter he referred to a recent report by FoxSports.com, quoting unnamed sources who said that Fisher had been challenged by NBPA executive director Billy Hunter and "at least one member of the union's executive committee" for allegedly seeking a 50-50 split in basketball-related income from the owners. Hunter has since told SportsBusiness Journal that he did not confront Fisher as reported.
"Usually I wouldn't even dignify absurd media reports with a comment," Fisher wrote to the players Monday night. "But before these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you, my loyalty has and always will be with the players. Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history, and what I stand for. And quite frankly, how dare anyone call that into question. The Players Association is united and any reports to the contrary are false. There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close."
Here is the entire letter as sent by Fisher:
Interesting times right now. The clock is ticking and we are aware that games are being lost, our jobs are on the line as are those of all the arena workers and business owners impacted by the lockout.
We have been prepared for this and need to make sure we are getting the best deal possible. As this sets the precedent for the next 6, 7, 10 even 20 years. My goal, the Executive Committee's ONLY goal is to present you with the most fair deal possible. A deal that is both fair on system and BRI. One isn't more important than the other. They are both extremely impactful to our business, our sport and our day to day life in the league.
Our Executive Committee, NBPA staff and I are navigating the negotiations very carefully. We need to continue to work hard on your behalf and get the season going if possible. I've been speaking with many of you and we are working with your opinions, suggestions, and requests front and center. This is your union, and we work with and for you.
Many of you have asked about the timing of the cancellation of games. We know as players and interacting with our fans and the people that work in these arenas on a daily basis this is having an impact. If nothing more, the league and owners should understand people's livelihoods are at stake. They should be able to take the over 1 Billion dollars we've offered them and open the doors of their arenas and let us, along with the ushers, parking attendants, everyone impacted to get back to work.
Usually I wouldn't even dignify absurd media reports with a comment. But before these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you, my loyalty has and always will be with the players. Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history, and what I stand for. And quite frankly, how dare anyone call that into question. The Players Association is united and any reports to the contrary are false. There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close. We are united in serving you and presenting the best options and getting everyone back to work.
The attempt by "sources" to divide us will be unsuccessful. We will continue to work every day to do right by you, the businesses that depend on our league and our fans.
The NBA and the owners have not allowed us to go back to work. So they have essentially turned their backs on not only the players, but the fans that have made them billions. I hope they decide to change that. It's the only way everyone wins.
I urge each of you to stay involved. Call me and your fellow players on the Executive Committee and the NBPA staff with anything you need or questions you may have.
I will be in touch later this week with updates on the details of the negotiations. Stand United.
With much respect,