LeBron James and Chris Paul call out NBA over Robert Sarver punishment: ‘Our league definitely got it wrong’

Los Angeles Lakers star james lebron weighed in on Robert Sarver’s situation on Wednesday, go to twitter to issue a brief statement in which he expressed his disappointment with the league’s handling of the matter.

His full comments:

“Read Sarver’s stories many times now. I have to be honest…Our league definitely got it wrong. I don’t need to explain why. Y’all read the stories and decide for yourselves. I got it I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s no place in this league for that kind of behavior. I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But that’s not fair. It’s not There is no place for misogyny, sexism and racism in any It doesn’t matter if you own the team or play for the team We hold our league as an example of our values ​​and that’s not all .

The NBA has concluded its nearly year-long investigation in Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver earlier this week determining that he used the N-word at least five times, engaged in unfair conduct towards female employees and engaged in a humiliating and harsh treatment of employees.

Despite confirming such indefensible conduct, the investigation found that Sarver’s actions were not “motivated by racial or gender animosity”, and the league had no discussion of Sarver’s removal as a than owner. Instead, he was given a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine.

Chris Paul, who currently plays for the Suns, also addressed Sarver’s conduct and said he was “horrified and disappointed” by the findings of the investigation. The future Hall of Fame added he felt that “the sanctions did not really address what we can all agree was atrocious behavior”.

At a press conference on Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained why Sarver was not forced to sell his team. as old Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling was back in 2014. Silver noted, in part, the lack of audio or visual evidence against Sarver, a different context for his actions, and the positive support Sarver received from many interviewees.

It should also be noted that Silver does not have the authority to unilaterally remove Sarver, or any other owner, from the league. In 2014 he took legal action to force Sterling to sell the team, but in the end it still required the backing of three-quarters of the other owners. The league decided not to go that route this time around, and it’s unclear if the other owners’ votes would have been there in this scenario.

LeBron and Paul were the first star players to speak out against the league’s decision, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see others follow in their footsteps. What impact, if any, such statements will have, however, remains to be seen.

It is clear that players have power in such situations. During the Sterling saga, the Clippers and Golden State Warriors nearly boycotted a playoff game before finally settling for a silent warm-up protest without any gear bearing club logos. Additionally, the NBPA called for immediate and severe punishment and league players expressed strong and direct outrage at his behavior.

Such strong reactions from the players played a part in Sterling’s withdrawal from the league, but they came before the league voted on, not after. Additionally, the Sarver punishment was handed down in the offseason, so players don’t have an immediate option to stop a game or stage a protest.

If LeBron and the players are ready to start disrupting the real product on the field, maybe they can force the league and the owners to consider removing Sarver. Without that level of action, it seems unlikely that such statements will change the league’s mind.

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