One of the reasons why Donald Sterling received a lifetime ban from the NBA and was eventually forced to sell the team back in 2014 was pressure from the players. His Clippers staged a public on-court protest, the Warriors and Clippers nearly boycotted the game, and other players like LeBron James raised their voices in protest.
Such backlash did not happen to Suns owner Robert Sarver, even after the league suspended him for a year and fined him $10 million for making racist and misogynistic comments and for creating a hostile work environment for the Suns organization.
That was until Wednesday, when LeBron spoke up.
behavior. I love this league and deeply respect our leadership. But this is wrong. There is no place for misogyny, sexism and racism in any workplace. It doesn’t matter if you own a team or play for a team. We hold our league as an example of our values, and we don’t.
â LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2022
LeBron is the first active player, but far from the only one, to say that Sarver got away with a light sentence for 18 years of infractions, including some current and former Suns employees.
âThis is just a slap in the face and it shows us that the league is not really about diversity, equality or inclusion. I’m grateful for the recognition after being told I’m crazy, a bitch, and a dramatist. It definitely lets me breathe a little. But I’m angry. The League let us down when they had the opportunity to uphold its values.”
Just hours before LeBron’s tweet, NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended his decision to suspend Sarver for a year, saying he took into account the bigger picture, which includes the positive things Sarver has done and the progress he’s made.
âLet me reiterate, this kind of behavior is inexcusable,â Silver said at a press conference after a meeting of the Board of Governors (owners) in New York. âBut I feel like we handled it fairly, taking into account the totality of the circumstances, not just these specific allegations, but the 18 years that Mr. Sarver owned the Suns and the (WNBA Phoenix) Mercury. â
Silver said there was no discussion with the other owners about removing Sarver and forcing him to sell.
It was the most unbalanced Silver ever to appear at a press conference. He struggled to come up with a good answer as to why Sarver could still own the NBA 12 months from now, when any league or team employee would be fired for part of the incidents detailed in a 36-page report produced by the league. . At the same time, Silver revealed the truth – the owners cannot be fired.
âHere, there are special rights for someone who owns an NBA team, and not for someone who is an employeeâ¦,â Silver said.
âI have no right to take away his team. I don’t want to dwell on that legal point because of course there could be a process in this league to take someone’s team out. It’s very difficult, and ultimately I decided that it didn’t rise to that levelâ¦ There’s no clear answer here other than owning property, the rights that comes with owning an NBA team, as it’s arranged in our constitution, that to take that team out of- under his control, a very complex process would be required, and it is different from keeping a job. It’s just like that when you really own the team. It’s just a completely different proposal.”
Silver also spent considerable time explaining the difference between Sarver’s case and Sterling’s, in which the league gave the owner a lifetime ban and ultimately forced the team to sell.
âI think what we saw with Donald Sterling was blatant racist behavior against a select group of people. Although it is difficult to understand what is in someone’s mind or heart, we have heard these words … “. Silver said. âIn the case of Robert Sarver, I would say, first of all, we look at the totality of circumstances over the 18-year period during which he owned these commands, and ultimately we made a judgment … It goes beyond all possible ways to use the language and behave in that way, but it was completely different from what we saw in that earlier case.
One thing that was different from Sterlingâbesides being pressured by the player and having an audio recording that everyone could hear rather than a written reportâis the fact that team and league sponsors began to turn away from the Clippers. Big-name sponsors – State Farm, Carmax, Kia, Corona – hit the pockets of other owners. This changed the dynamic, although still not all owners wanted to oust Sarver.
The sponsors have yet to pull out of the league because of Sarver.
If the players speak out, the fans speak up and the sponsors turn away, the dynamics around Sarver could change. But for now, Silver has prayed and both he and Sarver will keep their heads down and hope this situation passes.
Players from the WNBA and NBA may not allow this.
On the latest episode of my podcast Draymond Green called on the league’s Board of Governors to vote to remove Robert Sarver from the Suns.
âCan this guy just go back into the womb like he still represents us? Like he’s a part of us? This cannot be. Because I, especially African Americans, are uncomfortable. I am very embarrassed and I know that in this position you can just do whatever you want and since you own the asset you cannot be punished.
“I saw where the commissioner [Adam] Silver said: âI took every possible step. The maximum fine that I can hand out, I handed out. To [Robert Sarver] be ejected as a franchise owner and forced to sell, that vote will fall to two-thirds of the other owners of those assets.” So what I’d like to say is, why don’t we have a vote?”
The NBA requires 75% Board of Governors approval to remove a manager from a team. With eight board members, this would require at least six votes. Current board members include Harrison Barnes, Tobias HarrisMichael Jordan, Adam Silver, Tony Ressler, Gale Benson, Tamika Tremalho and Larry Tannenbaum, recently re-elected Chairman of the Board.
After reports surfaced that Sarver made racist, sexist and other derogatory comments in the workplace, the league finally punished him last week after a lengthy investigation. He was suspended for one year, fined $10 million, and will be required to take sensitivity courses.
But many in the league believe the punishment was light, given years and years of inappropriate, hatred-inspiring behavior. The idea of ââbringing Sarver back to the Suns in 2023-24 seems like the wrong idea.
âThe NBA stands for inclusion,â Greene said. âThe NBA stands for diversity. The NBA is definitely against bigotry and racism… This report, released last week, is the exact opposite of everything the NBA stands for.”
Perhaps the outrage from many of the league’s high-profile leaders will be enough to push for more action against Sarver.
The full podcast is available below or anywhere you listen to podcasts.
it’s not a secret Jay Crowder wants an exchange from Phoenix. Besides the rumors around the league all summer long, he pinned an Instagram comment about Heat trade to get Crowder back. The sun will probably give Cam Johnson Crowder has played many minutes this season to shoot more on the floor, and Phoenix is ââone of the teams looking to trade Bojan Bogdanovic to Utah, according to multiple reports.
âThey have been very active in the past week,â Windhorst said. âNow they are in trade negotiations. Many of them are centered around Jay Crowder. Jay Crowder is a player that is available on the market right now.â
Heat seeks help at four after PJ Tucker left and show interest in Crowder (as well as in Bogdanovich). Miami may send Phoenix more shooting in the form Duncan Robinson. However, for this to work, the Suns would have to add one more player – Cameron Payne or Tori Craig – and most likely would like to get a pick or a rookie Nikola Jovic from Heat too.
Boston Seeks Depth In Four After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Danilo Gallinari and would have Crowder’s interest, but it’s very difficult to get wages to match a trade that would work for Boston. There were rumors that New York would also put on Cam reddish in any trade. However, they will still need to add more players to…