Domonique Foxworth, president of the National Football League Players Association, is a candidate to replace Billy Hunter as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, two people with direct knowledge of the organization’s search said.
Foxworth, in his first year at Harvard Business School after a six-year playing career, in a telephone interview declined to comment on the NBA union’s search or his standing as a candidate.
Foxworth, 30, joins investment banker Reuben McDaniel and former Morgan Stanley (MS) Executive Director Riche T. McKnight as known candidates to fill the vacancy left when player representatives from 24 of the 30 teams voted unanimously in February to fire Hunter from the $3 million-a-year job amid allegations of nepotism and abuse of union resources.
Ron Klempner, the basketball union’s acting executive director, said the process is under way and declined to comment on specific candidates.
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, declined to comment on Foxworth, who according to the union led the negotiating strategy during labor talks with owners that yielded a collective bargaining agreement that gave players improved working conditions, better health and safety protocols and a stable economic structure. He also was instrumental in major initiatives, including what the union calls The Trust, a program designed to help players transition to life after sports. Foxworth’s tenure as NFL union president expires next month.
Smith and Don Fehr, the head of the National Hockey League Players Association, are lawyers. The Major League Baseball Players Association, widely considered the strongest of the major North American sports unions, in December named former baseball player Tony Clark to replace the late Michael Weiner. Clark isn’t an attorney.
“While the skills gained by a career in law are helpful for both analyzing and resolving complex issues, there are other career paths that provide that same solid foundation,” Chuck Baker, a partner with DLA Piper’s Global Sports Media and Entertainment practice, said in a telephone interview.
Hunter’s dismissal after a 16-year tenure ended almost a year of speculation about his future with the players association, punctuated by the results of an audit of the union conducted by New York-based law firm Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison. The review concluded that Hunter, a former NFL player and U.S. Attorney, failed to manage conflicts of interest, lacked proper corporate governance and didn’t disclose that his contract wasn’t properly ratified.
The union hasn’t given a timetable to choose Hunter’s replacement. Foxworth’s candidacy was previously reported in the lobshots.com blog.
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