LeBron James rips NBA’s Robert Sarver punishment

Count LeBron James among those who felt Suns owner Robert Sarver got off easy.

The NBA suspended Sarver for a year and fined him $10 million after an investigation revealed that Sarver, allegedly repeating statements made by others, said the “N-word” at least five times.

The 60-year-old Suns owner was also found to have made inappropriate comments about women and their physical appearances that were sex-related.

Further, the report said that Sarver had inappropriate physical contact with men and was verbally abusive to employees.

James expressed his displeasure with the ruling on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Read through the Sarver stories a few times now,” James tweeted. “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 aint it.”

LeBron James did not believe the NBA disciplined Suns owner Robert Sarver severely enough.
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James’ stance echoes those of the players. Tamika Tremaglio, the executive director of the NBA Players Association, said in a statement that Sarver “should never hold a managerial position within our league again.”

In a statement when he announced the punishment, Silver called the findings about Sarver “troubling and disappointing.”

On Wednesday, Silver gave a press conference that did not satisfy those who thought Sarver got off too light.

Robert Sarver was suspended by the NBA for one year and fined $10 million.
Robert Sarver was suspended by the NBA for one year and fined $10 million.
NBAE via Getty Images

Asked how Sarver’s actions were different from those of Donald Sterling, the former Clippers owner who was thrown out of the league after audio leaked of him in part telling his girlfriend that he didn’t like her “associating with black people,” Silver said the two matters were not the same.

“The situations were dramatically different,” Silver said. “I think what we saw in the case of Donald Sterling was blatant racist conduct directed at a select group of people. While it’s difficult to know what is in someone’s heart or in their mind, we heard those words. Then there was a follow-up from the league office, and that became public, as well, in terms of what Mr. Sterling even subsequently said about his actions.

Adam Silver defended the NBA's punishment of Robert Sarver in a press conference on Wednesday.
Adam Silver defended the NBA’s punishment of Robert Sarver in a press conference on Wednesday.
NBAE via Getty Images

“In the case of Robert Sarver, I’d say, first of all, we’re looking at the totality of circumstances over an 18-year period in which he’s owned these teams, and ultimately we made a judgment, I made a judgment, that in the circumstances in which he had used that language and that behavior, that while, as I said, it was indefensible is not strong enough. It’s beyond the pale in every possible way to use language and behave that way, but that it was wholly of a different kind than what we saw in that earlier case.”