Fisher refuses to resign, says push for NBPA review 'not about me'
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Derek Fisher isn't backing down in this fight against the National Basketball Players Association.
Fisher, the union president and veteran guard for the Thunder, has been pushing for an internal review of business practices that was blocked by executive director Billy Hunter. The two heads of the NBPA began to battle during the NBA lockout that ended in December, and Fisher is now asserting that an internal investigation of how the union handles its finances and business is a must.
The NBPA's executive committee -- which is made up of nine players, including Fisher -- asked for his resignation on Wednesday in a letter. But Fisher said at his team's shootaround Friday morning that he won't be obliging. Sources say Hunter is organizing a conference call of the union's team representatives to have Fisher voted out, but it's unclear whether that is even possible in accordance with NBPA bylaws.
"I do and have always taken my job as president of the players' association very, very seriously," Fisher said on Friday. "And anyone or any group who questions my intentions in any decisions I've ever made that I 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 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 some ways, in terms of not being able to put certain controls in place. 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. So I won't lose focus of that idea. I'll continue to push for what I feel is right for our players."
Fisher later released a statement to the media.
"As I stated in my letter to the executive Committee, I will not resign. 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."