The NBA continues to receive criticism for its ruling in the Robert Sarver case, including a scathing review from its most prominent player.
In a pair of tweets tonight, LeBron James said the league “definitely got this wrong” in reference to Commissioner Adam Silver‘s decision to suspend Sarver for one year and fine him $10MM rather than taking action to force him to sell the team.
“Read through the Sarver stories a few times now,” James wrote. “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 behavior. 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 work place. 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.”
Also reacting was Suns star Chris Paul, who agrees that Sarver deserves much stronger sanctions. Paul has largely avoided comment on the topic since the allegations against his team’s owner were made public last November, other than to stress the need to avoid letting it become a distraction. But tonight he issued a strong statement disapproving of Sarver’s behavior.
“Like many others, I reviewed the report. I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read. This conduct especially towards women is unacceptable and must never be repeated,” Paul tweeted. “I am of the view that the sanctions fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior. My heart goes out to all of the people that were affected.” (Twitter link)
A nearly year-long investigation of Sarver determined that he used racially insensitive language in the workplace, including the N-word at least five times while recounting – or purporting to recount – statements from other people. He also treated female employees poorly, making many sex-related comments and inappropriate statements about their appearance, according to the report from the law firm that conducted the investigation.
Silver’s decision also drew a rebuke from NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio, who called Sarver’s actions “horrible” and said they “have no place in our sport or any workplace for that matter.” (Twitter link)
“Additionally, the investigation confirmed that Mr. Sarver’s deplorable behavior did not just come to light in November 2021,” she tweeted. “In fact, the report indicated Mr. Sarver’s long history of inappropriate conduct, including racial and gender insensitivity, misogyny and harassment. All issues that led to a toxic work environment for well over a decade. I have made my position known to Adam Silver regarding my thoughts on the extent of the punishment, and strongly believe that Mr. Sarver should never hold a managerial position within our league again.” (Twitter link)