“Our league definitely got it wrong”

The The NBA announced the discipline Phoenix Suns Mercury owner Robert Sarver on Tuesday fined the billionaire $10 million and suspended him from all league jobs for a year. While these are strict penalties by most standards, Many felt the league didn’t go far enough.

This group now includes LeBron James.

The Los Angeles Lakers star tweeted his displeasure at allowing Sarver to keep the Suns ownership despite 18 years of workplace misconduct and sporadic racial slurs detailed in the 43-page NBA report on the allegations.

James’ full message:

Read Sarver’s stories a few times now. I have to be honest…Dorina definitely missed it. You don’t need to explain why. You all read the stories and decide for yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is no place in this league for this kind of behaviour. I love this league and deeply respect our leadership. But this is not true. There is no place for misogyny, sexism and racism in any workplace. It doesn’t matter if you own the team or play with it. We set our union as an example of our values ​​and this is not the case.

According to an NBA report, a league investigation concluded that Sarver used the N-word at least five times while repeating or claiming to repeat what a black person said, regularly made sexual and inappropriately vulgar jokes in the workplace, insulted female employees, and frequently used it. The behavior reaches the point of bullying.

In the history of the NBA, Sarver’s penalty came in second to that of Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers who was quickly and loudly expelled from the league after his racist comments were recorded and published in 2014.

Chris Paul vs Robert Sarver

Two hours later, Phoenix Suns star and James’ close friend Chris Paul also spoke out against Sarver, saying his punishment was not enough to address problems in the Suns organization.

Paul, the former president of the National Basketball Players Association, did not say that Sarver should be forced to sell his team like James, but said that Sarver’s behavior towards women should not be repeated.

NBPA chief also not happy with Robert Sarver’s punishment

James and Paul’s feelings were consistent with their union president, such as NBPA CEO, Tamica Trimaglio. A statement was issued on the same day Saying that there should be no place for Sarver in the league:

Sarver’s reported actions and behavior are outrageous and have no place in our sport or any workplace for that matter.

In addition, the investigation confirmed that Mr. Sarver’s deplorable behavior did not appear only in November 2021. In fact, the report noted Mr. Sarver’s long history of inappropriate behavior, including racial and gender insensitivity, misogyny and harassment. All the issues that have led to a toxic work environment for more than a decade.

I have informed Adam Silver of my position with respect to my thoughts on the extent of the penalty, and I strongly believe that Mr. Sarver should not hold a management position in our league again.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver explains Robert Sarver’s discipline

Hours before James posted his tweet, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a press conference to explain how the league made its decision on Sarver.

Silver called Sarver’s behavior “inexcusable” and apologized to current and former employees who bore the brunt of it, and hinted at more information about the allegations he was unable to make public due to confidentiality agreements with witnesses.

However, when asked why Sarver has not been banned for life from the NBA like Sterling, Silver said the two situations were not comparable enough to enforce the precedent:

“Situations were wildly different. I think what we saw in the case of Donald Sterling was blatant racist behavior directed at a select group of people. While it’s hard to tell what’s in someone’s heart or in their minds, we heard those words and then there was a follow-up from the office The league also became public regarding what Mr Sterling later said about his actions.

“In Robert Sarver’s case, we’re looking at the totality of circumstances over the 18-year period in which he’s owned these teams. Ultimately, I made a judgment that in the circumstances in which he used that language and that behavior while, as I said, he was untenable, he’s not that strong. Enough. He goes beyond pallor in every possible way of using language and behaving in that way, but it was of a very different kind than what we had seen in that previous state.”

Silver also admitted that Sarver’s status as a franchisor made his discipline different from that of any other league employee. He also noted the significant damage to Sarver’s reputation as a result of the scandal.

Robert Sarver is still the owner of the Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)