Monday, November 28 2022

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said the NBA was “wrong” for only suspending Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

On Tuesday, the league handed Sarver a one-year suspension and $10 million fine after a 10-month NBA investigation found he violated common workplace standards. The misconduct included “the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.”

A day later, James said Sarver’s lenient punishment “isn’t right.”

“Read through the Sarver stories a few times now. I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong,” James tweeted on Wednesday evening. “I don’t need to explain why…  I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of behavior.”

He added, “I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right.”

ROBERT SARVER: Phoenix Suns team owner suspended for 1-year, fined $10 million 

WHAT WE KNOW: Phoenix Suns, Mercury owner Robert Sarver’s misconduct leads to fine, suspension

MORE: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says Robert Sarver, Donald Sterling cases ‘very different’

James said there’s “no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place.”

“Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team,” James added. “We hold our league up as an example of our values and this ain’t it.”

James asked his 52 million followers to “read the stories and decide for yourself.”

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver shown during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 28, 2022.Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver shown during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 28, 2022.

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver shown during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 28, 2022.

An independent investigation conducted by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz law firm found that Sarver used the N-word on at least five occasions – mostly recently in 2017 – while recounting what someone else said. He told a pregnant employee she would be unable to do her job upon becoming a mother and made comments about women crying too much.

He “engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions, engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees,” according to the investigation.

Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul said he was “horrified and disappointed” by the report.

“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.”

In response to his suspension and fine, Sarver took “full responsibility” for his actions.

“Good leadership requires accountability. For the Suns and Mercury organizations, that begins with me,” he wrote. “While I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA’s report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees.  I take full responsibility for what I have done. I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values.”

Sarver’s statement added: “I accept the consequences of the NBA’s decision. This moment is an opportunity for me to demonstrate a capacity to learn and grow as we continue to build a working culture where every employee feels comfortable and valued.”

The investigation started last November following an ESPN report of allegations of racism and misogyny against Sarver, claiming he created a “toxic” work environment within the Suns’ organization during his 17-year run as owner.

Contributing: Jeff Zillgitt

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LeBron James criticizes NBA for lenient punishment of Robert Sarver

Source: Yahoo Sports

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