There was a feeling among a number of players (fueled by their agents) that the former leadership of the NBA players union — executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher — were too soft with the NBA and too cozy with David Stern and NBA leadership. That stems out of the last lockout (which the small/mid-sized owners won big) but carries over to other areas.
It appears just-elected union president Chris Paul is willing to come out fighting — and on issues that may not sit well with fans.
Paul has only been in the office for a couple days but TMZ has a report that he plans to be much more hardline than his predecessors.
Sources tell us … Paul is taking his new role very seriously — and is already talking to players about his agenda, which includes:
— Preparing a battle plan to fight any league proposal for HGH testing
— Eliminating flopping fines
— Forbidding any dress code additions/changes
We can all enjoy the irony of the notorious flopper Paul fighting flopping fines, but what it signals is a willingness to fight. Same with HGH testing, which all major pro leagues are trying to put in (although the NFL and its union are fighting over it).
Thing is, those are two things generally popular with fans. Both flopping and PEDs are issues that cut at the game’s integrity and fans want to see fines, they want to see testing, they want to see less flopping and the guys who get caught flopping get more than a $5,000 slap on the wrist. Fans want to know their players are clean.
There should be tension and disagreements between the players union and the league — there is always going to be being tension between labor and management. If CP3 and the players want to be more aggressive, that is their call.
But they better pick their battles. Know which ones are worth fighting and don’t hurt the NBA’s domestic fan base.