LeBron James, Chris Paul call out NBA’s suspension of Suns owner Sarver
NBA superstars LeBron James and Chris Paul took to Twitter on Wednesday to share their thoughts on the league’s punishment of Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, following its investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against him.
The league on Tuesday suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million after finding he used a racial slur on at least five occasions over 18 years, engaged in inappropriate conduct with female employees, such as making jokes about sex and sex-related anatomy, and engaged in inappropriate physical conduct with male employees on several occasions.
“Read through the Sarver stories a few times now. I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t need to explain why,” James wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. “Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of behavior.”
“I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place,” James added. “Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this aint it.”
In a tweet, Paul, who currently plays for the Suns, wrote that after reviewing the league’s report on Sarver, he felt the punishment “fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior.”
“Like many others, I reviewed the report. I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read. This conduct especially towards women is unacceptable and must never be repeated,” Paul wrote. “My heart goes out to all of the people that were affected.”
Paul, who served as president of the National Basketball Players Association from 2013 to 2021, previously dealt with a firestorm of controversy surrounding his team’s ownership when he played for the Los Angeles Clippers.
In 2014, audio surfaced of then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist remarks about several Black people, including NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, during a phone conversation with his ex-girlfriend.
In response to Sterling’s remarks, Paul and other Clippers players held a silent protest by wearing their warmup shirts inside out during Game 4 of their first-round playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.
A few days later, the NBA banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million over the racist comments.
During a press conference on Wednesday, league Commissioner Adam Silver said Sarver’s conduct was “beyond the pale” but that the situation wasn’t comparable to that involving Sterling, who the commissioner said was guilty of “blatant racist conduct directed at a select group of people.”
The league launched its investigation in Sarver last year after ESPN published a story in which dozens of sources alleged Sarver had engaged in racist and misogynistic behavior during his tenure.