LeBron James on Robert Sarver verdict: NBA ‘definitely got it wrong’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
LeBron James on Wednesday criticized the NBA for the league’s lenient disciplinary action against Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver.
Sarver received a one-year suspension and a maximum $10 million fine on Tuesday after he was accused of making racist and misogynist remarks during his tenure as owner of the Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
James took to Twitter to comment on the league’s decision.
“Read through the Sarver stories a few times now,” James tweeted. “I have to be honest…our league definitely got that wrong. I don’t have to explain why. They all read the stories and decide for themselves. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s no place in this league for that kind of behavior. I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But that’s not right. Misogyny, sexism and racism have no place in any workplace. Whether you own the team or play for the team. We hold up our league as an example of our values and it’s not.”
The NBA has commissioned an independent investigation following a 2021 ESPN.com article into Sarver’s behavior. The league released a statement Tuesday that said Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violates common workplace standards as reflected in team and league rules and policies.” This behavior included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; gender-related statements and behavior; and harsh treatment of employees that occasionally amounted to bullying.”
The investigation found that Sarver’s charges included “repeating the N-word when repeating what others said” at least five times, making inappropriate comments about sex, and engaging in harsh treatment of employees.
James is among many who have expressed concern at the lack of harshness in Sarver’s punishment, with some believing he was meant to be forced to sell the team.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said earlier Wednesday that Sarver’s suspension lasted no more than a full calendar year due to a lack of racial animus.
“I have a certain authority because of this organization and I exercise it,” Silver said. “I don’t have the right to take his team away. I don’t want to rest on that legal point because of course there could be a process to take away someone’s team in this league. It’s very complicated, and I ended up making the decision that it didn’t go to that level. But to me, the implications here for Mr. Sarver are grave.