NBA failed victims of Suns owner Robert Sarver’s misconduct

By agreeing to sell his franchises, Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver may be attempting to absolve the NBA of its own grave miscarriage of justice, so we should be reminded that none of this would be happening without the bravery of people who risked their livelihood in order to bring his offenses to light.

It seems unlikely the NBA would have ever held Sarver’s feet to the fire were it not for more than 70 of his current and former employees revealing allegations of racism, misogyny and other workplace misconduct to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, accusations that were published in November 2021. The league conceded it did not receive a single tip concerning Sarver’s behavior to the anonymous hotline it established in the wake of Sports Illustrated’s 2018 investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in the Dallas Mavericks’ organization.

If the NBA is serious about its commitment to social justice, the league should ask itself: Are we doing enough to convince our employees we are committed to making theirs a safe and equitable workplace?

The independent investigation into Sarver’s misconduct, launched only after ESPN’s exposé, detailed copious instances of harassment throughout his 18-year tenure, from confirmation he used the N-word in a free-agent recruitment pitch during his first season as team owner in 2004 to corroboration of his use of sexually explicit language in a 2021 meeting. It is hard to believe the league was unaware of Sarver’s transgressions.

Even with a 43-page report full of evidence to the contrary, the NBA endorsed its independent law firm’s determination of “no finding that Sarver’s conduct was motivated by racial or gender-based animus.”

Commissioner Adam Silver did not cover himself in glory when he avowed, “There are particular rights here of someone who owns an NBA team as opposed to somebody who is an employee.” His clarification that employees and franchise owners “absolutely are … held to the same standard of appropriate conduct” fell woefully flat, given the paltry one-year suspension and $10 million fine levied against Sarver in lieu of a lifetime ban.


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Author : Yahoo Sports

Publish date : 2022-09-22 23:35:28

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