The NBPA has decided to relaunch its search process, two months after making White, SAG-AFTRA’s national executive director, a finalist for a similar post. The NBPA also selected Washington, D.C.-based trial attorney Michele Roberts as a finalist.
At that point, White told the national board that no decision had been made and that SAG-AFTRA would be in good hands if he did leave. But this week the NBPA has decided to begin another search effort, bringing on Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson to head the search committee.
The players union will make a decision before the start of next season, which begins in late October.
For now, the delay clarifies what had been a murky outlook for SAG-AFTRA’s upcoming negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television on a successor deal to the SAG and AFTRA master contracts — which expire June 30. White is the union’s lead negotiator.
Johnson, a former NBA player, will chair a search committee of “outside professionals with unique NBPA and executive search connections and experiences to guide the executive committee.”
The NBPA slot has been vacant for over a year. Longtime chief Billy Hunter was fired unanimously by the player reps for alleged financial malfeasance.
The NBPA’s announcement made no mention of White or Roberts. SAG-AFTRA had no comment.
The NBPA’s president, Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, reached out to Johnson after criticism emerged in recent months that the search process lacked transparency. Paul said this week that he was proud of the work that the union has done in seeking a new exec director and “grateful” that Johnson had come on board.
“Mayor Johnson is in a unique position as a former player and someone skilled in the politics of negotiations to lead this effort,” Paul said.
Johnson thanked Paul and the executive committee and said he would be meeting with all of the player representatives and “moving aggressively to build on the work that’s been done.”
As for SAG-AFTRA, it has not yet set a date for contract negotiations with the AMPTP but is expected to do so once the union’s national board approves the contract proposal that’s been formulated by its negotiating committee. The board is scheduled to meet this weekend.