Sarver was banned from the NBA for one year and fined $10 million after the league released its findings Tuesday from a 10-month independent investigation into allegations of workplace abuse during Sarver’s nearly two-decade tenure as the Suns’ managing partner.
Earlier Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver held a news conference in New York following the league’s governors meeting, and he addressed the concerns raised by the player base — which is nearly 75% black.
The allegations, first reported by ESPN.com last November, were corroborated by an investigation by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, reports by others.
“I talked to some players,” Friday said Wednesday. “Those are personal conversations. I leave it to the players to speak directly to how they feel.”
Silver described his conversations with players as “frustrating” because, “I think we want to see those players continue to deal with these issues.”
Late Wednesday, National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio released a statement saying “Server’s reported actions and behavior were appalling and have no place in our game or any workplace for that matter.”
“I have made my position known to Adam Silver regarding my thoughts on the extent of the punishment, and I strongly believe that Mr. Sarver should never again hold an administrative position in our league,” Tremaglio added.
James’ statement echoes his stance in 2014 when the league investigated alleged racist misconduct by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
“Donald Sterling has no place in the NBA — no place for him,” James said before the Miami Heat’s playoff game against the Charlotte Bobcats. “… They’ve got to take a stand. They’ve got to be very aggressive with it. I don’t know what that will be, but we can’t have that in our league.”
James will spend the last half of his NBA career as a public advocate for social change as he enters his 20th season this fall.
Silver said that from a personal standpoint, he is “hopeful” when it comes to server violations, but found that many players and coaches in the league are familiar with the situation.
“Look, I think it’s no secret that this is a league where about 80 percent of our players are black. Over half of our coaches are black,” Silver said. “None of them are as shocked as I am, living their lives. I don’t think they’re reading this. Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening.”