Saturday, January 29 2022

It’s either a loaded message against a man who is now one of the NBA’s most controversial owners, or a night out on the town with a business partner.

Jahm Najafi, a Phoenix-based businessman and minority owner of the Phoenix Suns, attended Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks with Colin Kaepernick, with whom he co-chairs special purpose acquisition company Mission Advancement Corps.

The pair’s appearance occurs as Suns majority owner Robert Sarver is under NBA investigation for allegations of racism and misogyny during his tenure.

In an explosive report from ESPN, Sarver was accused of a “toxic and sometimes hostile workplace” in his 17 years of owning the team. More than 70 current and former Suns employees, ex-Suns head coach Earl Watson among them, spoke with ESPN, painting a picture overall of Sarver using racially insensitive language, discussing sexually explicit activities and frequently going on verbal tirades. 

Longtime NBA star Vince Carter later added to the allegations, accusing Sarver of telling Suns players to “take him out.”

Najafi called Sarver’s alleged conduct ‘unacceptable’

Even before ESPN published its article, the Suns’ reaction was fierce. Sarver released a lengthy statement describing the stories as “false reporting,” while the Suns and Phoenix Mercury, which Sarver also owns, released pre-emptive statements calling the claims “completely baseless.”

Even more statements of support for Sarver came from general manager James Jones, team president Jason Rowley, as well as one signed by a collection of Suns minority owners, including Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald.

One minority owner who did not sign the statement was, predictably, Najafi, who instead released a statement calling Sarver’s alleged conduct “unacceptable.”

And now, with Sarver’s NBA future still potentially tenuous, Najafi is making a public appearance in their team’s statement with one of the loudest voices for racial justice in sports.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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