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NBA Players Assn. places union chief Billy Hunter on leave

Billy HunterNBANational Basketball Players AssociationDerek FisherChris Culliver

The NBA Players Assn. announced Friday that union chief Billy Hunter, who has headed the union since 1996, has been placed on an indefinite leave of absence.

In a memo sent to players Friday morning, union president Derek Fisher said: "This organization has been disrupted and we will no longer tolerate it. Immediate action was necessary and taken to protect you."

Union general counsel Ron Klempner has taken over as interim executive director.

The NBA Players Assn. hired the independent firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to look into Hunter's leadership of the union and a report last month found that Hunter's five-year, $15 million contract was never properly approved, his hiring practices were suspect and it questioned his spending on travel and gifts. 

"Unfortunately, it appears that Union management has lost sight of the NBPA’s only task, to serve the best interests of their membership," Fisher said in the statement.

"This is the reason I called for a review almost a year ago. The findings of that review confirm this unfortunate truth and we must now move forward as Players. Immediate change is necessary and I, along with the Committee Members, are committed to driving the process as difficult as it may be."

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