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LeBron James claims the NBA ‘got it wrong’ over Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver’s punishment

Lakers superstar LeBron James claimed the NBA misunderstood the suspension of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver.

Sarver, owner of Phoenix Suns and Mercury, was banned for one year by the NBA and fined $10 million after a league investigation into allegations of racism, sexism and bullying.

In a statement on Tuesday, the NBA revealed it discovered Sarver used the N-word at least five times, among other violations from his nearly two-decade tenure as owner of the Suns and WNBA’s Mercury.

As stated in the report, the independent investigation found that Mr Sarver ‘engaged in behavior that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and league rules and policies’, read the statement of the competition. ‘This behavior included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female workers; sexual statements and behavior; and harsh treatment of employees who, on occasion, amounted to bullying.”

Although witnesses claimed to have heard Sarver use the racist slur, the investigation revealed that he either repeated the N-word or claimed to do so. The NBA did not find Sarver using the term “with the intent to humiliate or denigrate.”

In addition to saying the N-word “at least five times,” Sarver has also been accused of language and behavior degrading to female employees, including asking a pregnant employee if she couldn’t perform her duties after becoming a mother. The unidentified woman was told by a team manager to look for a new job and was eventually demoted.

LeBron James Claimed The NBA Misunderstood Phoenix Suns Owner Robert Sarver's Suspension

LeBron James Claimed The NBA Misunderstood Phoenix Suns Owner Robert Sarver’s Suspension

Sarver (pictured) has been banned for one year by the NBA and will be fined $10 million

Sarver (pictured) has been banned for one year by the NBA and will be fined $10 million

Sarver (pictured) has been banned for one year by the NBA and will be fined $10 million

James has now attacked the NBA for their handling of the situation, insisting there is no place for “that kind of behavior” in the league.

He posted on Twitter: “Read the Sarver stories a few times now. I have to be honest… Our league definitely misunderstood this. I don’t need to explain why.

‘You read 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 competition and I have deep respect for our leadership. But this isn’t right.

“There is no place in any workplace for misogyny, sexism and racism. It doesn’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We uphold our competition as an example of our values ​​and this isn’t it.’

1663206562 836 LeBron James claims the NBA got it wrong over

1663206562 836 LeBron James claims the NBA got it wrong over

The Lakers superstar insisted there is no place for 'that kind of behaviour' in the league

The Lakers superstar insisted there is no place for 'that kind of behaviour' in the league

The Lakers superstar insisted there is no place for ‘that kind of behaviour’ in the league

According to the league, Sarver is not allowed in any NBA or WNBA team facility, including offices, arenas, and practice facilities, as well as other league-related events, whether public or private. He must also not have any involvement in the business or basketball activities of Suns or Mercury.

However, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver revealed on Wednesday that Sarver was likely to be spared even harsher sanctions by the NBA for his racist, misogynistic and hostile words and actions over an important conclusion from investigators.

The law firm, which spent nearly a year digging into the situation, determined that Sarver’s use of defamation was “not motivated by racial hostility.”

Had that not been the case, Silver indicated, Sarver’s sentence — a one-year ban and a $10 million fine — would have been much harsher.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (center) indicated that the penalty could have been worse

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (center) indicated that the penalty could have been worse

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (center) indicated that the penalty could have been worse

“It was relevant,” Silver said after the Board meetings. “I think if they had determined that his behavior was in fact motivated by racial hostility, that would definitely have affected the final outcome here. But they haven’t found it.’

And that, for Silver, is one of the key differences between the Sarver case and the one that involved then-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, in 2014, when he was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for racist comments.

Some players, Silver said, have reached out to him to express their concerns. Silver said he would keep the details of those conversations private.

The NBA had the option to grant Sarver a longer suspension than the one-year suspension. The $10 million fine was the maximum allowable, as was the case with Sterling’s $2.5 million fine eight years ago; The NBA rules on maximum fines were changed in 2019.

Silver said there were significant differences between Sarver's case and the one surrounding then-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling (left) in 2014

Silver said there were significant differences between Sarver's case and the one surrounding then-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling (left) in 2014

Silver said there were significant differences between Sarver’s case and the one surrounding then-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling (left) in 2014

Another reason why Silver, who determined the final sentence in this case, did not make sure to prolong or even suspend Sarver: he said he took into account a number of anonymous details that could not be revealed in the investigative report. published Tuesday, along with other elements of Sarver’s actions in his 18-year ownership of the WNBA’s Suns and Phoenix Mercury.

“There were those awful things,” said Silver. “There are also a lot of people who have very positive things to say about him through this process. And in the end I took all that into account when deciding that the suspension of one year plus the fine was justified.’

A 10-month investigation into Sarver’s behavior confirmed that he had used racist language, made sexually inappropriate comments, that some employees – both men and women – were uncomfortable with his words and actions, and that he participated in what constituted bullying. would be considered at work.

The NBA commissioner was the ultimate decision-maker of the sentence in the Sarver case

The NBA commissioner was the ultimate decision-maker of the sentence in the Sarver case

The NBA commissioner was the ultimate decision-maker of the sentence in the Sarver case

“Indefensible isn’t strong enough,” said Silver.

But the league had no discussions about removing Sarver as owner during its Board of Directors meetings. Silver permanently banned Sterling after tapes of him making racist comments were leaked to TMZ in a move that kicked off the lawsuit forcing Sterling to sell the franchise.

“This case is very different,” Silver said. “It’s not like one is taped and the other isn’t. … Finally, Mr. Sarver acknowledged his behavior.’

Sarver did and apologized on Tuesday, though noting that he disagreed with all of the report’s findings.

“While I disagree with some of the details of the NBA report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that have offended our staff,” Sarver said in his statement.

“I take full responsibility for what I have done. I’m sorry I caused this pain, and these errors of judgment are not in line with my personal philosophy or my values.

“I accept the consequences of the NBA’s decision.”

Sarver, a real estate developer reportedly worth $850 million, denied or disputed nearly all of the claims in the original ESPN report last year.  On Tuesday he apologized (photo)

Sarver, a real estate developer reportedly worth $850 million, denied or disputed nearly all of the claims in the original ESPN report last year.  On Tuesday he apologized (photo)

Sarver, a real estate developer reportedly worth $850 million, denied or disputed nearly all of the claims in the original ESPN report last year. On Tuesday he apologized (photo)

Silver was asked how most of a company’s employees were likely to be fired for using racist comments or participating in lewd actions or comments as the survey found Sarver did.

“It’s hard to make those comparisons with someone committing an inappropriate act in the workplace in a somewhat anonymous way, versus what’s now a huge public issue surrounding this person,” Silver said.

“There’s no decent answer here, other than the rights that come with owning an NBA team, how that’s governed by our constitution. What it takes to take that team out of its control is a very involved process, and it’s different from keeping a job. It’s just like that. If you really own a team, it’s just a completely different proposition.’

More to follow.