The NBA is catching heat from LeBron James and other basketball stars over the punishment handed down to Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, who has been suspended for one year and fined $10 million after an investigation found he engaged in racist and misogynistic behavior, CNN reports.
On Tuesday (September 13), the league released its findings from an independent investigation into Sarver's workplace conduct.
The NBA concluded that the Suns owner had "repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others" on "at least five occasions."
According to the findings, Sarver also “engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees.”
James shared his perspective on the league's decision Wednesday (September 14) after he "read through the Sarver stories a few times."
“I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong," the NBA superstar tweeted. "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."
James added that he "loves" the league and "deeply respects" its leadership, but continued to condemn Sarver's one-year ban and $10 million fine.
"There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any workplace," he said. "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.”
NBA All-Star and Suns guard Chris Paul echoed James' sentiments.
“Like many others, I reviewed the report. I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read,” Paul said Wednesday on Twitter. “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," he added. "My heart goes out to all of the people that were affected.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained why Sarver wasn't handed a lifetime suspension after former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was permanently banned from the league in 2014 over racist remarks.
“This case is very different and it’s not that one was captured on tape and the other isn’t,” Silver said, per NBA.com. “Indefensible is not strong enough – it’s beyond the pale in every possible way – but it was a whole different context than what we saw in that earlier case.
“Looking back over his [Sarver's] track record of hiring, his track record of support for particular employees, what the actual people said about him – while there were terrible things – there were also many, many people who had very positive things to say about him through this process," he continued. "I took all of that into account."
"I don’t have the right to take away his team … but to me, the consequences are severe,” he said.