The Phoenix Suns have named vice chairman and minority owner Sam Garvin as the team’s interim governor in connection with a one-year suspension from the NBA of majority owner Robert Sarver. according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.
On Tuesday, the NBA announced a one-year suspension of Sarver, as well as a $10 million fine, following an independent investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct. The law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz has publicly released 43 page report if his conclusions after conducting 320 interviews and viewing more than 80,000 “documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos.”
In essence, the report made the following key findings:
- - Advertisement -
Sarver said the N-word at least five times, repeating or implying a repetition of what the black had said, four of them after black and white subordinates told him that he should not use the word, even when repeating another.
Sarver used profanity and humiliated female employees. Among other examples, he told a pregnant employee that she would not be able to do her job as a mother; scolded an employee in front of everyone, and then said that women cry too much; and hosted a ladies’ lunch so that the women at Western Alliance Bank, where he was CEO at the time, could explain to the women at Suns how to comply with his demands.
Sarver frequently commented and joked with employees at establishments large and small about sex and gender-related anatomy, including making rude or otherwise inappropriate comments about the appearances and bodies of employees and other women. On four occasions, Sarver exhibited inappropriate physical behavior towards male employees.
More than 50 current and former employees reported that Sarver frequently humiliated and mistreated employees, including yelling and scolding them, which sometimes amounted to intimidation according to workplace standards.
The league launched an investigation into Sarver after November 2021 article published by Holmes, whose interviews with more than 70 current and former Suns employees revealed hostility in the workplace. The investigation confirmed extensive accusations of “racially insensitive language” and “misogynistic” behavior.
Garvin was one of more than a dozen members of the Suns and Phoenix Mercury ownership group who put their names on a statement in Sarver’s defense following the ESPN revelation.
“For the individual, we dispute the characterization of Mr. Sarver and the organization as racist and sexist,” statement, which is still on the team’s website. “We support Mr. Sarver’s leadership and support him. To that end, we join Mr. Sarver in applauding Commissioner Silver’s investigation into the allegations made by ESPN and will cooperate fully with the investigation and any proposal the league may have. we truly believe this request will demonstrate that our organization and Mr. Sarver are the true stewards of our people, our franchise, our fans and the game.”
According to the NBA, Sarver “fully cooperated with the investigative process,” but he “did not agree” with his suspension and fine during the “largely acrimonious” punitive process. This was reported by Holmes and ESPN correspondent Adrian Wojnarowski.. Investigators requested interviews from 124 people, who “either did not respond or declined in the affirmative,” the report said. It is unclear if Garvin cooperated with the league’s investigation.
The NBA drew widespread criticism for endorsing the investigation, which “did not find that Sarver’s behavior was racially or gender-based” despite evidence to the contrary in the report.
LeBron James was the most vocal player in the NBA, tweeting on Wednesday: “Our league has definitely made a mistake… There is no place for that kind of behavior in this league. I love this league and deeply respect our leadership. Not properly. Misogyny, sexism and racism have no place in any workplace.”
Similarly, Suns veteran Chris Paul, who also served as president of the National Basketball Players Association for eight years, tweeted, “I believe the sanctions have not really helped address what we all agree was a brutal behavior. to all the victims.”
“Reports of Mr. Sarver’s actions and behavior are appalling and have no place in our sport or any workplace for that matter,” said NBPA chief executive Tamika Tremalho. statement to Mark J. Spears of Andscape. She added: “I have made my position clear to Adam Silver regarding my thoughts on the degree of punishment and I strongly believe that Mr. Sarver should never again be in a leadership position in our league.”
Garvin has been the Suns’ deputy governor under Sarver since July 2007.
– – – – – – –