Phoenix Suns owner Robert Saver’s alleged 18 years of workplace misconduct and subsequent punishment has become a significant event. Many fans and players were upset to hear Sarver was suspended only one year and fined $10 million for his repeated offenses. Four-time NBA Champion Draymond Green is among the players with strong feelings regarding the incident.
On a recent episode of his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” Green shared his thoughts on Sarver’s suspension and fine.
“We’ve seen players get thrown out of the league for less,” Green said. “I think anyone that’s an employee of an NBA team — not an NBA player, although you could possibly throw us in there as well — would one-thousand percent be fired if half of the things that came out of the investigation into Robert Sarver came out about anyone else.”
The reports surrounding Robert Sarver are severe. An ESPN investigation originally published in 2021 summarized Sarver’s inappropriate behaviors during his tenure as owner of the Phoenix Suns.
“Interviews with more than 70 former and current Suns employees throughout Sarver’s 17-year tenure describe a toxic and sometimes hostile workplace under Sarver. Some told ESPN that he has used racially insensitive language repeatedly in the office,” stated the report.
“Employees recounted conduct they felt was inappropriate and misogynistic, including Sarver once passing around a picture of his wife in a bikini to employees and speaking about times his wife performed oral sex on him.
“Some said the longtime owner fostered an environment in which employees felt they were his property, even once asking one woman whether he ‘owned’ her to determine whether she worked for the Suns.”
A Phoenix Suns co-owner confirmed the allegations against Sarver.
“The level of misogyny and racism is beyond the pale. It’s embarrassing as an owner,” they said.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver on why Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver only received a one-year ban for alleged workplace misconduct
Following the announcement of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver’s one-year ban, NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement explaining the decision.
“We believe the outcome is the right one, taking into account all the facts, circumstances, and context brought to light by the comprehensive investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to upholding proper standards in NBA workplaces,” Silver said.
Silver later held a follow-up press conference where he answered questions regarding the short ban. Silver was asked if the league considered permanently banning Sarver.
“There was no discussion around the process of removing him,” Silver said.
Silver was also asked why the punishment for Sarver was different from former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban in 2014. Sterling was banned after recordings of him making racist comments were released.
“I’d say, number one, it was the same law firm, the same investigators both who looked into the Sterling matter and looked into Sarver’s matter, and ultimately the same league office, and the same ultimate judge. For me, the situations were dramatically different,” Silver said.
“I think what we saw in the case of Donald Sterling was blatant racist conduct directed at a select group of people. While it’s difficult to know what is in someone’s heart or in their mind, we heard those words,” Silver continued.
“In the case of Robert Sarver, I’d say, first of all, we’re looking at the totality of circumstances over an 18-year period in which he’s owned these teams, and ultimately, I made a judgment, that in the circumstances in which he had used that language and that behavior, that while, it was indefensible is not strong enough.”
Silver even went as far as to confirm that owners have different standards compared to other league employees.
“There are particular rights here of someone who owns an NBA team as opposed to somebody who is an employee,” Silver said.