Chris Paul says NBA punishment on Suns owner Robert Sarver ‘fell short’
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul responded to the NBA’s punishment of Suns owner Robert Sarver, saying that the league “fell short” with it.
Paul, who was the former president of the National Basketball Players Association, joins the likes of LeBron James and others that have spoken out about Sarver and how the NBA is giving him a one-year suspension and $10 million fine for making racist and misogynistic remarks.
“Like many others, I reviewed the report,” Paul said via Twitter. “I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read. This conduct especially towards women is unacceptable and must never be repeated.
“I am of the view that the sanctions fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior. My heart goes out to all of the people that were affected.”
An investigation was opened up on Sarver in November 2021 after allegations of racism and misogynistic behavior. The NBA found that Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and league rules and policies. This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language, unequal treatment of female employees, sex-related statements and conduct and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.”
It was also found that Sarver “repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others” at least five times and made many “sex-related” and other inappropriate comments in the workplace.
This is not the first time Paul has had to deal with a team owner who was found to have this behavior. Ex-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was forced to sell the team after being caught on tape making racist remarks. Paul was the leader in that locker room, as he is now with the Suns, in 2014.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he has no jurisdiction to make Sarver sell the Suns or the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
The five-member committee that worked on the investigation said Sarver’s remarks were not motivated by “racial or gender-based animus.”
“I think if they had made findings that, in fact, his conduct was motivated by racial animus, absolutely that would have had an impact on the ultimate outcome here. But that’s not what they found,” Silver said via ESPN.
James was blunter than Paul. Though not a member of the Suns, James’ comments carry weight being one of the most recognizable faces in basketball.
“Read through the Sarver stories a few times now,” he wrote on Twitter. “I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t need to explain why. Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of behavior.
“I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this ain’t it.”
“Good leadership requires accountability,” Sarver said in his own statement. “For the Suns and Mercury organizations, that begins with me. While I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA’s report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees. I take full responsibility for what I have done. I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values.”
The investigation had 320 witnesses come forward regarding Sarver’s comments and actions, the league said.