NBA stars LeBron James and Chris Paul have criticized the punishment handed down to Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver for his racist and sexist behavior.
“There is no place for misogyny, sexism and racism in any workplace.” James wrote on Twitter.
“We hold up our league as an example of our values and this is not it.”
The NBA interviewed 320 people and then analyzed 80,000 documents and videos An ESPN article in November 2021 which allegedly involved racist and sexist behavior and harassment during Sarver’s 18 years in charge of the group.
While the NBA’s investigation “did not find that Sarver’s conduct was racially or gender-motivated,” it found evidence of “racially insensitive language, disparate treatment of female employees, and sexist statements and behaviors.”
“Our league definitely got it wrong. I don’t have to explain why. Read the stories and decide for yourself,” added Los Angeles Lakers forward James.
“I love this league and I have a lot of respect for our leadership. But this is not right.”
Twelve-time All-Star Paul, who has played for the Suns since 2020, added his disapproval on social media.
“Like many others, I reviewed the report. I am appalled and disappointed by what I read,” he wrote.
“This behavior, especially towards women, is unacceptable and must never be repeated.
“I think the sentences fell short of what we all agree was truly appalling behavior to deal with. My heart goes out to all the people affected.”
Sarver’s punishment was more severe than that of Donald Sterling, who was banned from the NBA for life and forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers in 2014. after being recorded making racist statements.
The head of the players’ union called for a similar ban for Sarver.
“I have made my position known to (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver regarding his views on the extent of the punishment, and I strongly believe that Mr. Sarver should never hold an executive position in our league,” National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Tamika said. Tremaglio
Silver said Sarver’s conduct, while unacceptable, did not meet the threshold for a lifetime ban.
“First of all, we’re looking at all the circumstances of the 18 years he’s owned these teams,” Silver said.
“And ultimately we made a judgement, I made a judgement, in the circumstances where he used that language and that behavior, because I said it was indefensible, it’s not strong enough (to merit a lifetime ban).
“To use language and act like that is far from it in every way, but it was completely different than what we saw in that previous case.”