LeBron James detailed his disappointment with the NBA’s punishment of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver on Wednesday, writing “our league definitely got this mistaken” in a series of social media posts.
Sarver was banned from the NBA for one yr and fined $10 million after the league released its findings on Tuesday from a 10-month independent investigation into allegations of workplace abuse during Sarver’s tenure as managing partner of the Suns that has spanned nearly 20 years.
Earlier Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver conducted a news conference in Latest York following the league’s board of governors meeting and addressed concerns he has fielded from the player base — which is almost 75% Black.
behavior. I really like this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this is not right. There is no such thing as a place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter in case you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up for instance of our values and this aint it.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2022
Among the many litany of allegations first reported by ESPN.com last November and corroborated by the investigation conducted by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Sarver was found to have, on least five occasions, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.
“I’ve talked to some players,” Silver said Wednesday. “Those have been private conversations. I’ll leave it for the players to talk directly how they feel.”
Silver continued to explain his conversations with players as “disheartening” because, he said, “I believe, for those players to see that we proceed to cope with these issues.”
Later Wednesday, Tamika Tremaglio, the manager director of the National Basketball Players Association, issued an announcement, saying that “Sarver’s reported actions and conduct are horrible and haven’t any place in our sport or any workplace for that matter.”
Tremaglio added that she has “made my position known to Adam Silver regarding my thoughts on the extent of the punishment, and strongly imagine that Mr. Sarver should never hold a managerial position inside our league again.”
James’ statement echoes his stance from 2014 when the league was investigating alleged racist misconduct from then Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
“There is no room for Donald Sterling within the NBA — there is no such thing as a room for him,” James said prior to a Miami Heat playoff game against the Charlotte Bobcats. ” … They should make a stand. They should be very aggressive with it. I do not know what it is going to be, but we won’t have that in our league.”
James has spent the last half of his NBA profession, which is entering its twentieth season this fall, as a public advocate for social change.
Silver said from a private standpoint he was in “disbelief” when informed of Sarver’s transgressions, but that most of the players and coaches within the league that he spoke to found the situation all too familiar.
“Look, I believe it’s no secret this can be a league where roughly 80 percent of our players are Black. Greater than half our coaches are Black,” Silver said. “I’ll say that none of them perhaps are as shocked as I’m, living their lives, that I do not think they’re reading this saying, oh, my God, I can not imagine this happens.”