LeBron James, Chris Paul on Robert Sarver sentencing to NBA: ‘Our league definitely got it wrong’

Los Angeles Lakers Star LeBron James weighed in on Robert Sarver’s situation on Wednesday, take to twitter To issue a brief statement in which he expressed his dismay at how the league handled the matter.

His full comments:

“Read through the Sarwar stories a few times now. I have to be honest… Our league has definitely gone wrong. I don’t need you to explain why. You read all the stories and decide for yourself. I made it Said before and I’ll say it again, this kind of behavior has no place in this league. I love this league and I deeply respect its leadership. But it’s not right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism and racism even in the workplace. It doesn’t matter whether you own a team or play for a team. We uphold our league as an example of our values ​​and it It’s not like that.”

The NBA completes its nearly year-long investigation In Phoenix Sun And Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver determined earlier this week that he used the N-word on at least five occasions, engaged in cases of unequal conduct toward female employees, and abusive and harsh treatment of employees. engaged in

Despite confirmation of such precarious conduct, the investigation found that Sarwar’s actions were not “motivated by racial or gender-based enmity”, and that the league had not discussed Sarwar’s removal as owner. Instead, he was given a one-year suspension and fined $10 million.

Chris Paul, who currently plays for the Suns, also addressed Sarwar’s conduct, saying he was “intimidated and disappointed” by the findings of the investigation. Future Hall of Famer couple He felt that “the sanctions fell short of truly addressing what we can all agree on was atrocious behavior.”

During a press conference on Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained why Sarwar was not forced to sell his team. as before Los Angeles Clippers The owner was Donald Sterling back in 2014. Silver said, in part, the lack of any audio or visual evidence against Sarwar, a separate context for his actions, and positive support Sarwar received from the many people who were interviewed.

It is also worth noting that Silver does not have the power to unilaterally remove Sarwar, or any other owner, from the league. In 2014 he initiated a legal process to force Sterling to sell the team, but ultimately he still needed the support of three-quarters of the other owners. The league decided not to go down that path this time around, and it is unclear whether the other owners will vote in this scenario.

LeBron and Paul were the first star players to speak out against the league’s decision, and it would be no surprise to see others follow in their footsteps. However, what will be the impact of such statements remains to be seen.

It is clear that players have strength in such situations. During the Sterling saga, the Clippers and Golden State Warriors The club’s logo boy almost boycotted a playoff game before settling on a silent protest to warm up without any gear. In addition, the NBPA called for immediate harsh punishment and players from around the league expressed strong, direct outrage about his behavior.

Such strong reactions from players played a part in Sterling’s removal from the league, but they came before the league’s decision, not after. In addition, Sarwar’s punishment was carried out during the off-season, so players do not have an immediate option of stopping or opposing play.

If LeBron and the players are willing to start disrupting the actual on-court product, perhaps they can force the league and owners to explore Sarver’s removal. Barring that level of action, it seems unlikely that such statements are likely to change the league’s views.

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