Phoenix Suns Vice President Jahm Najafi has called on team owner Robert Sarver to resign



CNN

In an open letter to Phoenix Suns staff and players on Thursday, team vice president Jahm Najafi called for team owner Robert Sarver to resign.

In the letter, obtained by CNN, Najafi said: “I cannot in my right mind sit back and let our children and future generations of fans think that this behavior is condoned because of wealth and privilege.

“Therefore, in line with my commitment to help eradicate racism, sexism and bias of any kind, as Vice President of the Phoenix Suns, I am calling for the resignation of Robert Sarver.”

Sarver was fined $10 million and suspended for one year after an independent investigation found he engaged in hostile, racially insensitive and inappropriate behavior.

The report, which follows an ESPN report on Sarver’s conduct requested by the NBA last fall, found that the Suns owner “on at least five occasions during his time with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the N-word when recounting statements made by others.”

READ: “Our league definitely got it wrong” – LeBron James reacts to Robert Sarver’s decision

He also “engaged in instances of unfair behavior toward female employees, made numerous sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and engaged in physically inappropriate behavior toward male employees on several occasions,” according to the report.

CNN reached out to the Suns and the NBA for comment, but did not immediately respond.

In his letter, Najafi added: “First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all of you who mustered the courage to share your experiences, however difficult it may have been, to help me form a clearer picture of what working life must have been like for you over the past 18 years.

“There should be zero tolerance for discriminatory actions at any level, in any field, let alone professional. There is no doubt that the findings determined that Mr. Sarver’s lewd, misogynistic and racist behavior had a profoundly negative impact on you and has no place in our society.”

National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio He posted a thread on Twitter Late Wednesday expressing his stance on the investigation and punishment of Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver. Tremaglio’s thread was further shared on the NBPA’s official Twitter account.

The thread reads: “Yesterday the NBA released the findings of an independent investigation conducted by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz Suns Governor Robert Sarver. The actions and conduct reported by Mr. Sarver are appalling and have no place in our sport or workplace.

“In addition, the investigation confirmed that Mr. Sarver’s deplorable behavior did not only emerge in November 2021. In fact, the report noted Mr. Sarver’s long history of inappropriate behavior, including racial and gender insensitivity, misogyny, and harassment.

“For more than a decade, all issues were brought to a toxic work environment. I have made my position known to Adam Silver regarding his views on the extent of the penalty, and I strongly believe that Mr. Sarver should never hold an executive position in our league.

On Wednesday, LeBron James and former NBPA president Chris Paul both expressed their doubts about the NBA’s handling of the investigation and punishment.

CNN has reached out to the NBA and the Phoenix Suns to report to ESPN that vice president and minority owner Sam Garvin has been named the team’s interim governor during Sarver’s one-year hiatus.