September 28, 2022

‘Our league definitely got it wrong’

The NBA announced its discipline Phoenix Suns And Mercury owner Robert Sarver on Tuesday fined the billionaire $10 million and suspended him from all league activity for one year. While those were harsh punishments by most standards, many felt the league didn’t go far enough.

That group now includes LeBron James.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar tweeted his displeasure that Sarver was allowed to maintain his Suns franchise despite 18 years of workplace abuse and sporadic racial slurs detailed in the NBA’s 43-page report.

James’ full message:

Read the server stories a few times now. I have to be honest…our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t have to explain why. You all read the stories and decide for yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that kind of behavior has no place in this league. I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this is not correct. Misogyny, sexism and racism have no place in any workplace. It doesn’t matter whether you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values ​​and this is not that.

According to the NBA’s report, the league’s investigation found the server used the N-word at least five times while repeating or repeating what a black person said, made inappropriate sexual and crude jokes in the workplace, demeaned female employees and frequently used The behavior reaches the level of bullying.

Sarver’s punishment is second only to that of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in NBA history, who was quickly and loudly ejected from the league in 2014 after his racist comments were recorded and made public.

NBPA president not happy with Robert Sarver’s punishment

James’ sentiments echo those of his association’s president, such as National Basketball Players Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio. issued a statement on the same day The server said there was no room in the league:

Mr. The server’s reported actions and behaviors are appalling and have no place in our game or any workplace.

Additionally, Mr. The investigation confirmed that the server’s abusive behavior did not come to light until November 2021. Indeed, the report pointed to Mr Sarver’s long history of inappropriate behaviour, including racial and gender insensitivity, misogyny and harassment. All issues that have led to a toxic work environment for more than a decade.

I have communicated my position to Adam Silver regarding my thoughts on the level of punishment, and Mr. I strongly believe that Sarver should never hold an administrative position in our league again.

Adam Silver explains the Robert Server discipline

Hours before James posted his tweet, NBA commissioner Adam Silver held a news conference to explain how the league made its decision on the server.

Silver said the server’s behavior was “indefensible” and apologized to current and former employees, noting additional information related to the allegations he could not make public due to confidentiality agreements with witnesses.

However, when asked why Sarver wasn’t banned for life from the NBA like Sterling, Silver said neither situation was sufficient to apply the precedent:

“The circumstances were dramatically different. I think what we saw in the case of Donald Sterling was blatant racist behavior directed at a select group. It’s hard to know what’s in someone’s heart or their mind, but we heard those words. And then there was a follow-up from the league office, and it was Shared publicly.

“In Robert Sarver’s case, we’re looking at the totality of the situations in which he’s owned these teams over an 18-year period. In the end, I’ve judged in what situations he used that language and that behavior. At the same time, like I said, it’s unsafe, it’s not strong enough. It pales in all possible ways, but it’s completely different from what we’ve seen in the previous case.”

Silver also acknowledged that Server’s status as an owner made disciplining him different than disciplining any other league employee. He also noted the damage to the server’s massive reputation as a result of the scandal.

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