When the NFL lockout started, that union’s executive director, DeMaurice Smith, agreed to take a $1 salary through the duration of the lockout. Share the pain, show some solidarity.
So during a players meeting last week, Shane Battier asked NBA union president Billy Hunter if he would do the same thing, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
The mere suggestion seemed to offend Hunter, players witnessing the exchange privately told Yahoo! Sports. After Hunter told Battier he hadn’t given it much thought, members of the union’s executive board came to Hunter’s defense. Hunter had taken the union from the red to the black in his term, done a good job, they said. Hunter never did give Battier a firm answer, nor would he answer the question for Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday.
Hunter’s salary is around $2 million a year. Yes, that raises some eyebrows among players. But a number of players came to Hunter’s defense, according to a tweet from Michael Lee of the Washington Post.
What this really shows is this — as this lockout drags on, the players will start to question their leadership and the deal being driven. Right now the players are unified, that may not always be the case, especially if paychecks are missed.
The same is true of the owners, where issues of revenue sharing have already showed a divide.
That is why Hunter and Stern are the key figures in this — they are the leaders that have to keep their troops in line. Whichever side splinters first will end up being the losers in these negotiations.