I sat at my computer last night thinking, ”We should be kicking out our first post-game column of the season.”
You know, something like…
“Bryant Drops 45, Brown Era Begins with a Bang”
Instead, the NBA lockout drags on, and directly under fire is NBPA President Derek Fisher. Fox Sports columnist Jason Whitlock stirred up some controversy earlier this week when he suggested D-Fish was in Stern’s hip-pocket. He followed up his initial accusation (citing anonymous sources, of course) by suggesting that Fisher had been secretly negotiating with Stern to improve his position within the league after retirement.
As you might expect, Fisher fired back with this statement:
The statements made in recent articles on the Fox Sports website are inexcusable. Among the many baseless accusations, to allege that I am working with the league for my personal gain is unequivocally false. The implication that I am doing anything but working in the best interests of the players is disgusting, defamatory and a flat-out lie. I have issued a letter through my attorneys demanding a retraction for the libelous and defamatory stories the site and reporter have continued to publish.
Regardless of the media reports, the players association, our staff, executive director and executive committee are unified and working side by side to serve our players.
There should be no more distractions. We must continue to negotiate a fair deal for our players.
The teeny-bop drama didn’t stop there.
Yesterday, Whitlock penned a follow up column describing Fisher’s letter to the players as very weak, then defended his original report:
I stand by the accuracy, integrity, sourcing and truthfulness of all the stories I’ve written about Derek Fisher during this NBA lockout. If you read the entire transcript of his 515-word letter, it reveals a basketball player who thinks he can moonlight as the leader of a labor movement.
Meanwhile, back here in reality, the NBA is still on the shelf and no new labor meetings have been scheduled. At the conclusion of their last session, the two sides stood just 2.5% apart on the BRI split, an amount that translates to around $90 million in the short-term and upwards of $500 million over the lifetime on an agreement.
The clock is ticking…