Count LeBron James among those who thought Suns owner Robert Sarver got off easy.
The NBA suspended Sarver for a year and fined him $10 million after an investigation found that Sarver, allegedly repeating statements made by others, said the ‘N-word’ at least five time.
The 60-year-old Suns owner was also found to have made inappropriate comments about women and their gender-related physical appearances.
Additionally, the report states that Sarver had inappropriate physical contact with men and was verbally abusive towards employees.
James expressed his displeasure with the decision on Twitter on Wednesday.
“Read Sarver’s stories many times now,” james tweeted. “I have to be honest… Our league definitely got it wrong. I don’t need to explain why. You read all the stories and decide for yourself. 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 deeply respect our leadership. But that’s not fair. There is no place for misogyny, sexism and racism in any workplace. It doesn’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league as an example of our values and that’s not it.
James’ position echoes that of the players. Tamika Tremaglio, executive director of the NBA Players Association, said in a press release that Sarver “should never again be in a leadership position within our league”.
In a statement when he announced the punishment, Silver called the findings about Sarver “disturbing and disappointing.”
On Wednesday, Silver gave a press conference that did not satisfy those who thought Sarver was coming off too light.
When asked how Sarver’s actions were different from those of Donald Sterling, the former Clippers owner who was kicked out of the league after an audio leak of him telling his girlfriend in part that he didn’t didn’t like her “associating with black people,” Silver said. two things were not the same.
“The situations were dramatically different,” Silver said. “I think what we saw in the case of Donald Sterling was blatant racist conduct directed against a select group of people. Although it’s hard to know what’s in someone’s heart or mind, we’ve heard those words. Then there was a follow-up from the league office, and that was also made public, in terms of what Mr. Sterling even said afterwards about his actions.
“In the case of Robert Sarver, I would say, first of all, we look at the totality of the circumstances over an 18-year period that he owned these teams, and ultimately we made a judgment, I made a judgment, that in the circumstances in which he had used that language and that behavior, if, as I said, it was indefensible, it is not strong enough. It is beyond the pallor of all the possible ways to use language and behave that way, but it was totally different from what we saw in this previous case.