The failure of the NBA victims of the misconduct of Suns owner Robert Sarver

By agreeing to sell his concessions, Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver Perhaps he is trying to absolve the NBA of his grave missteps of justice, so we must remember that none of this would happen without the courage of the people who risked their lives in order to shine a light on his crimes.

It seems unlikely that the NBA would ever stop Sarver had it not been for more than 70 of its current and former employees. Disclosing allegations of racism, misogyny and misconduct in the workplace to ESPN’s Baxter HolmesThe accusations were made public in November 2021. The association admitted that it had not received any tip regarding server behavior for the anonymous hotline it set up in the wake of Sports Illustrated’s 2018 investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse In the Dallas Mavericks‘ organisation.

If the NBA is serious about its commitment to social justice, the NBA must ask itself: Are we doing enough to convince our employees that we are committed to making their workplace safe and equitable?

Independent investigation into Sarver’s misconductfired only after ESPN revealed abundant detailed cases of harassment throughout his 18-year tenure, from confirming he used the N-word in a free-agent recruiting field during his first season as a team owner in 2004 to asserting his use of sexually explicit language at a 2021 meeting. It’s hard to believe the league wasn’t aware of Sarver’s abuses.

even with 43 page report Filled with evidence to the contrary, the National Basketball Association upheld its independent law firm’s decision “not to discover that Sarver’s conduct was motivated by racial or gender hostility.”

Commissioner Adam Silver did not cover himself in glory when he said, “There are certain rights here for someone who owns an NBA team rather than someone who is an employee.” His explanation that employees and franchisees are “fully committed … to the same level of appropriate behavior” fell woefully, given a frivolous one-year suspension and a $10 million fine imposed on Sarver rather than a lifetime ban.

It has blamed the whistleblower, some of whom are still working for sunsTo forgive and forget.

Phoenix Suns owner and Mercury owner Robert Sarver announced plans to sell both franchises amid his outrageous behavior.  (Mark J. Rebelas/USA Today Sports)

Phoenix Suns owner and Mercury owner Robert Sarver announced plans to sell both franchises amid his outrageous behavior. (Mark J. Rebelas/USA Today Sports)

In the end, money happens. Paypal has pledged not to renew its longstanding partnership with Suns and Mercury, should Sarver return to his position at the end of the suspension. One member of the Sarver property group Speak against the management partner’s supervision. More league and team sponsors are set to stop being associated with the Phoenix franchises, According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The National Basketball Players Association had just begun its protest, calling for Sarver to resign. Sarver eventually withdrew.

Perhaps this was the NBA’s all-time hope, that the financial fallout from the Sarver scandal would provide enough pressure to force his ouster, and the league’s other 29 ownership groups could avoid it. The potential for further repercussions from the discovery process behind a potentially disputed legal battle.

However, here we are, it is not because the NBA did everything in its power to protect the rights of its employees.

It took TMZ posted previous tapes Los Angeles Clippers His racist remarks, Donald Sterling, followed by Players protest And the Shepherds, before the NBA issued a life ban. Sterling’s behavior was no secret, considering it paid a historically large pair housing discrimination Lawsuits during the past decade. Until then, it was Shelley Stirling, not the League, who facilitated her husband’s dismissal, He is legally mentally incapable of making decisions He vowed not to sue the NBA as part of her sale.

Likewise, it was the Sports Illustrated report that exposed the prevalence of sexual harassment, abuse, and other misconduct within the Mavericks organization. Independent investigation resulting from the NBA It was revealed that club owner Mark Cuban had prior knowledge of an employee’s repeated sexual harassment — and violent threats — of his co-workers, as well as two acts of domestic violence perpetrated by another employee, including one of his co-workers. Cuban denied prior knowledge of Team Leader and CEO Terdima Osiri.Inappropriate behavior in the workplace towards 15 female employees,” despite of The Dallas Morning News revealed an internal investigation At Ussery’s excesses before Cuban purchased the team.

“Sorry, it doesn’t work that way,” said Melissa Weisenhaupt, the Mavericks’ director of marketing from 2010 to 2014 and one of Osiri’s accusers, wrote for SI. “When you worked on the business side of Mavs, you went through all of your marketing, merchandising and broadcasting decisions. Nothing was decided without your consent.”

Under Cuban’s leadership, “many employees reported that the company’s apparent inaction … reinforced their belief that it was futile to file any complaints with HR.” In Sarver’s case, the culture was nearly identical: “Employees were reluctant to report their concerns and also reluctant to complete HR surveys.”

As for Sterling, his racism was widely publicized well before 2014. In addition to housing discrimination lawsuits, one of the game’s all-time greats, Elgin Baylor, who spent 22 years of his career after playing as the Clippers’ general manager, made several allegations of racial discrimination in a lawsuit against Sterling.

In each case, the National Basketball Association neither conducted an investigation nor claimed there was no prior knowledge of widespread misconduct in its midst. The league should be able to explain why it is not moving or not knowing. We wouldn’t like the answers as much as when Silver alluded to it at his press conference. The employees rightly believe that their voices will not be heard because the power dynamics tilt heavily in the direction of the NBA franchise owners, and the league office is indebted to them, even when misconduct appears.

It took the bravery of Sarver’s staff to present their accounts as victims of harassment, Holmes’ tireless reporting to reveal sordid details, and a 10-month independent investigation into the whole thing, and the NBA still hasn’t judged the team owner’s account. Then it required more media coverage, condemnation from players, an initial minority owner, and the revocation of sponsorship to force Saver into a hand.

However, Sarver will walk the fortune he has amassed on the backs of those who have slandered his reputation. As Chile sterling He said to Shelburne About her husband in 2019, “He’s happy to sell the team now. Yeah. He tells a lot of people. He says, ‘You know, I had to sell the team, but I feel like I fell off a tree and landed on a pile of gold.”

To be sure, more misconduct has been revealed in the NBA, or else a league that oozes pride in progressivity would have had a three-quarter vote among club owners to drive out the worst among them. We can only hope that their subordinates will be brave enough to tell their stories, because if we learn anything from this mess, there are outside forces willing to hold the powerful to account if the NBA is not.

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Ben Rohrbach Writer for Yahoo Sports. Do you have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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