Phoenix Suns Vice Chairman Jahm Najafi is calling for the resignation of Suns owner Robert Sarver after allegations of racism and misogyny in the workplace surfaced this week.
Najafi released a lengthy statement on Thursday, thanking the targets of Sarver’s mistreatment for speaking out about his conduct as the owner of the Suns over the past 18 years. The vice chairman said there should be “zero tolerance for discriminatory actions of any level, in any setting, let alone a professional one.”
“There is no question that the findings determined that Mr. Sarver’s lewd, misogynist, and racist conduct had a substantial negative impact on you and has no place in our society,” Najafi said in the statement.
Sarver also owns the Phoenix Mercury, which plays in the WNBA.
The NBA launched an independent 10-month investigation into Sarver’s time as the owner of both teams and found that he engaged in conduct including “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.”
Most notably, the report found that Sarver repeated the N-word on at least five occasions “when recounting the statements of others.” The report also concluded that Sarver made sex-related comments at work and, on several occasions, “made inappropriate comments” about female employees’ and other women’s appearances.
Sarver was suspended from the league for one year and fined $10 million on Wednesday for his actions.
Like many others, I reviewed the report. I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read. This conduct especially towards women is unacceptable and must never be repeated.
— Chris Paul (@CP3) September 15, 2022
NBA superstars LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chris Paul, who plays for the Suns, slammed the NBA for allowing Sarver’s behavior to run unchecked for so long.
“Our league definitely got this wrong,” James said on Twitter on Wednesday.
“There is no place in this league for that kind of behavior,” James continued. “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.”
Paul said on Twitter that he was “horrified” by the report, adding that the league’s sanctions “fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior.”