Robert Sarver is who we thought he was: a racist, sexist and misogynistic owner who thought because he owned a professional sports team he could get away with saying just about anything. The worst part is that he almost did.
Remember that bombshell story from ESPN in November that reported allegations of racism and misogyny within the Phoenix Suns and Mercury organizations, mostly carried out by owner Robert Sarver? On Tuesday, the NBA suspended Sarver for one year, fined him $10 million and required him to complete a training program on appropriate workplace conduct.
As a result of his suspension, he can’t go to any NBA or WNBA facility, office, or arena and is prohibited from participating in any event related to either league. That includes attending games and having any involvement in basketball operations in relation to the Suns or Mercury, according to the NBA.
In my opinion, that doesn’t sound like much of a punishment because essentially, the NBA gave an owner who is worth about $800 million dollars a $20 fine and a year of vacation where he has to do some online classes from time to time. That’s it.
The investigation from a law firm independent of the NBA found that Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies. This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unusual treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying,” according to the NBA.
More of the key findings in the report of the independent investigation:
Mr. Sarver, on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the n-word when recounting the statement of others.
Mr. Sarver engaged in instances of inequitable conduct towards 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.
Mr. Sarver engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees, including by yelling and cursing at them.
The investigation also found that Suns employees also engaged in workplace misconduct in instances unrelated to Sarver, including occurrences of racial insensitivity, mistreatment of female employees, inappropriate commentary related to sex and other forms of disrespectful communication, according to the NBA.
Basically, all I got from the NBA’s statement is that Sarver is a racist, sexist piece of shit and now he gets to spend the next year in rich people timeout thinking about what he did.
Shortly after the ESPN report, Sarver released a statement trying his best to deny that he would ever display such repulsive behavior. But despite his efforts, investigators still found that he doesn’t mind throwing out the n-word every once in a while.
It’s just odd that although Sarver exhibited behavior that is comparable to Donald Sterling, he only received a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine. Is it because Sterling was recorded speaking down on Black people, most notably Magic Johnson, attending Los Angeles Clippers’ games? Or was it because Clippers players protested during a playoff game?