The NBA on Tuesday announced a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine Phoenix Suns And the Mercury Owner Robert Sarver After a lengthy independent investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct.
The university launched an investigation into Sarver’s follow-up November 2021 article It was published by Holmes, whose interviews with more than 70 current and former Suns employees revealed an alleged history of “racist insensitive language,” “anti-women” behavior and other hostile workplace misconduct.
Law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz were commissioned to conduct the investigation. Led by partners David Anders and Sarah Eddy, the investigation included 320 interviews and reviews of more than 80,000 “documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos.” The company’s results are formulated 43 page report which was announced in coordination with the NBA news release.
The investigation revealed the following main findings, as outlined in the report:
Sarver said the N-word at least five times in repeating or allegedly repeating what a black person said – four of them after black and white subordinates told them he shouldn’t use the word, even in repeating another word.
Sarver used language and engaged in demeaning behavior of female employees. Among other examples, tell a pregnant employee that she will not be able to do her job when she becomes a mother; She chastised an employee in front of others and then commented that the woman cries a lot; She arranged a women-only lunch so female employees at Western Alliance Bank, where he was chief executive at the time, could explain to Suns female employees how to handle his demands.
Sarver commented and joked frequently to employees in settings large and small about sex and gender-related anatomy, including by making crude or inappropriate comments about the physical appearance and bodies of female employees and other women. On four occasions, Sarver has engaged in inappropriate physical behavior in the workplace towards male employees.
More than 50 current and former employees have reported that Sarver has repeatedly engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees — including yelling and insults at them — that sometimes constituted bullying by workplace standards.
Terms of suspension prevent Sarver from entering any NBA or WNBA facility for one year. During that time, he also cannot attend Board of Governors meetings, represent his teams in any capacity, influence any business or basketball decisions or attend any league event, including business partner activities.
“The statements and behavior described in the findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and disappointing,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “We believe the result is the right one, given all the facts, circumstances and context highlighted by our comprehensive 18-year investigation and our commitment to upholding appropriate standards in the NBA workplaces. …
“Regardless of the situation, strength or intent, we all need to recognize the devastating and harmful impact of racist and degrading insensitive language and behavior. On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to all affected by the misconduct outlined in the investigators report. We must do better.”
“Actions taken on behalf of the NBA and the WNBA in response to the findings of the independent investigation are appropriate and necessary. We pride ourselves on being one of the most diverse and inclusive sports leagues, and hope that these actions will not only be used to create a stronger workplace culture for Suns/Mercury, but also highlight On the impact of that offensive language, WBA Commissioner Kathy Engelbert said in a statement that inappropriate behavior could affect employees more broadly.
In addition to the suspension and fine, Sarver must complete a training program that “focuses on respect and appropriate behavior in the workplace.” The Suns and Mercury are also mandated to hire an independent firm to “evaluate and make recommendations regarding workplace training programs, policies and procedures, and hiring and compensation practices—with a focus on promoting a diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplace.” Surveys of workplace culture and reports to the league office are also required.
Sarver’s penalty falls between the two other heaviest penalties in the league’s history.
NBA in 2014 Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling banned for life He was fined $2.5 million once the recordings of his racist remarks were made public. Sterling has previously faced several discriminatory lawsuits, including The largest settlement of housing discrimination in American history.
In 2018, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban I agreed to donate $10 million For organizations committed to combating domestic violence and supporting the professional development of women in sport, after an emphatic investigation Allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace in the organisation. Cuban was not suspended for his presidency for a systematic failure to protect staff.
The NBA will donate the $10 million fine to organizations “committed to addressing issues of race and gender within and outside the workplace.” A statement from the association said Sarver “fully cooperated with the investigation process.” but, According to Holmes and ESPN colleague Adrian WojnarowskiSarver objected to being suspended and fined during what became a “significantly severe” punitive operation.
“Good leadership requires accountability,” Sarver said in a statement on Tuesday. “For the Suns and Mercury, this starts with me. While I do not agree with some details of the NBA report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our staff. I take full responsibility for what I did – I am sorry for causing this pain, these errors of judgment do not It agrees with my personal philosophy or with my values.
“I accept the consequences of the NBA’s decision.”
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