NBA News: LeBron James and Chris Paul have demanded that Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver get tougher sanctions for his use of bullying tactics and racial and gender discrimination.
After a probe into claims of workplace misbehaviour, Sarver was just given a one-year NBA suspension and fined $10 million.
“Our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t need to explain why,” said four-time NBA champion and Los Angeles Lakers star James on Twitter.
“Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of behaviour.
“I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any workplace. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this ain’t it.”
Read through the Sarver stories a few times now. I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t need to explain why. Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2022
The 60-year-old afterwards issued a statement in which he expressed his disagreement with several aspects of the study and expressed regret for the remarks and deeds that had hurt the workers.
The NBA investigation gathered information from more than 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, texts, and videos, as well as 320 interviews with current and former employees who collaborated with Sarver during his 18-year tenure as managing partner of the Phoenix Mercury and the Suns.
The league found that Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies”, which included “the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying”.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) September 13, 2022
“Like many others, I reviewed the report. I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read,” Paul wrote.
“This conduct especially towards women is unacceptable and must never be repeated.
“I am of the view that the sanctions fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behaviour. My heart goes out to all of the people that were affected.”
Sarver did not get a more severe punishment because, according to the investigation, his statements were not motivated by “racial or gender-based” factors, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told reporters on Wednesday.
“It was relevant,” Silver said. “I think if they had made findings that, in fact, his conduct was motivated by racial animus, absolutely that would have had an impact on the ultimate outcome here. But that’s not what they found.”