Aldridge: Robert Sarver’s discipline in the NBA doesn’t disappoint if you’re not expecting too much

The NBA Suns owner Robert Sarver fined $10 million Tuesdayand stop him from participating with the NBA team or WNBA‘s Phoenix MercuryFor a year – the next punishment An investigation that lasted more than 10 months and was conducted independently by an outside law firm: Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

Punishment is certainly not a thing. But it does not amount to a “sense of right”.

You can only get angry when you have the expectation that when egregious misconduct is revealed, meaningful justice will be served to the guilty, regardless of their standing in life. I have very few expectations left.

Did you feel the shortness of the league decision? naturally. Was it strange that the report, consistently, said it could not be determined that Sarver’s behavior was “motivated by racial or gender hostility”? yes.

But do I feel righteous anger? number.

I’m just tired of being disappointed.

“Regardless of position, strength or intent, we all need to recognize the devastating and harmful impact of racist and degrading insensitive language and behavior,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement announcing the fine and suspension Tuesday, apologizing on behalf of the league. “To all affected by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report. We must do better.”

I do not doubt the sincerity of Silver. But Robert Sarver needs the NBA much more than the NBA needs Robert Sarver. The league penalty does not live up to the truth of this statement.

At least, in this case, there was a written report – Unlike the weak tea in the NFL that was distributed in 2021 to owner captain Daniel Snyder, After an outside investigation confirmed allegations of years of verbal and sexual toxicity directed against female employees at Snyder’s company, by several of his subordinates. Investigation for a year He didn’t even produce an actual white paper from the detectivewith the NFL Hiding behind the absurd excuse that he was trying to protect the privacy of the women who come forward to tell their stories.

Snyder, personally, wasn’t responsible for any of it—the association statement said the “team” had been fined $10 million, as if there was a name plaque in an office somewhere in the Virginia leaders’ headquarters that said “TH Team, Proprietor.” It was not used. The NFL never said the word “suspension” in announcing that Snyder’s wife, Tanya, would take over the team’s day-to-day responsibilities “for at least the next several months,” while Dan Snyder would “focus on a new stadium plan and other matters.”

Meanwhile, there is no evidence that Dan Snyder, for a day, did not remain involved in the team’s day-to-day operations. The NFL, as of this moment, won’t say whether or not his discipline is still in effect — or, if not, when it ends. Testifying before a congressional subcommittee looking into the club’s workplace environment this summer, the employees said that Snyder was, most certainly, a part of the environment, not an innocent bystander.

“Mr. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (DNY), chair of the committee, said during a June hearing that Snyder himself has cemented the toxic workplace of leaders.

After weeks of dodging the subcommittee’s subpoena, Snyder finally agreed to testify in July — but remotely, without any public accounting or textual release of what he was asked about, or how he answered.

The NFL also threw a stuffed pillow at Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in August and fined his team in two drafts, after determining which team publicly manipulated Tom Brady – while future Hall of Fame quarterback was still under contract with his current team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and former Saint Saints head coach Sean Payton, while still on a New Orleans job. The league investigation concluded that the Dolphins team was, On three separate occasionsviolated the university’s anti-tamper policy in its dealings with Brady and Peyton.

The NFL suspended Ross from participating in team events and operations for a full 10 weeks. Ross was fined a whopping $1.5 million.

According to Forbes, Ross’ current net worth is $11.6 billion.

Looking at Wachtell’s findings, Lipton investigation – Sarver’s use on five separate occasions of the “N” word during meetings with employees (although Sarver said he was repeating quotes from others who used it); Frequent verbal censure of male and female employees, strange and stimulating behaviors towards his employees; Similar toxic behaviors by department supervisors, poor-to-awful treatment of pregnant female employees – the NBA would have been within his rights to try to force Sarver to sell his team. Make League Donald Sterling Sell clippers in 2014, After it was revealed one recording of Sterling asking his girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers games.

Sterling had a history of making racist remarks, and reached a settlement in 2009 with the Department of Justice to overturn a housing discrimination lawsuit brought by Black and Brown residents of his apartment building — a settlement that, at the time, The largest settlement reached by the Ministry of Justice for such a lawsuit in its history. But the league knew about all this introduction and did not take any step against it until the 2014 tape appeared.

Sarver certainly had detractors throughout the league, especially early in his tenure, when he would explode and shout at referees and opposing players from his on-court benches. And over the years, there were all kinds of stories from within the organization about him being so nice about the players and the coaches, trying to be one of the players. But the full toxicity of the Suns/Sarver workplace only came to light after the ESPN story last November.

There was initial outrage directed at the league on Tuesdayby many who felt the punishment for Sarver was too light – although the NBA did not comment Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban in 2018, following an investigation launched after a Sports Illustrated report detailing sexual harassment throughout the team’s workplace. The National Basketball Association said Cuba would “donate” $10 million “to organizations committed to supporting women’s leadership and development in the sports industry and combating domestic violence.”

My reaction to Sarver’s fine and suspension was muted because the only thing that would motivate the league to take additional action would be if there was a significant backlash against the team – from its fan base or from its players and coaches. And it is unfair to ask fans who have waited so long for the team to, once again, become a competitor, to boycott the footprint center for something outside their control, or to ask general manager James Jones or coach Monty Williams to resign in protest, or to Devin Booker or Chris Paul to claim deals. why should that they Do you lift weights?

This can’t even be compared to my anger at what’s going on in the world today, and in this country in particular in the last few years – and let’s cut short all the arguments that might come if I told you exactly what I’m offended by saying I agree with absolutely everything you believe in.

The NBA governors have tied themselves up in the pastry in the recent several collective bargaining agreement negotiations, placing more and more stringent limits on contract length and size — including improved revenue sharing, along with luxury and redundancy taxes for teams that far exceed both. Salary cap and luxury tax limits. They’ve had to do this over the years not because players demand a lot of money, but to prevent the league’s richest teams from spending the poorest teams in multiples of millions of dollars.

At the other end of the spectrum, the league has, for years, had a salary cap that required all teams to spend at least 90 percent of their annual salary cap on player salaries, so that poorer teams couldn’t hoard money from their basketball revenue. .

They did and did all this because they cannot trust each other to do the right thing without such barriers.

Sarver has gone to great lengths to point out all the good work he’s done over the years for people of color in Arizona and California, some of which are great. He says the Suns have a higher percentage of people of color in the basketball operations division — 55 percent — than any other team in the league. Maybe, but first we have to know for sure how Sarver defines “staff”, “basketball operations” and “people of color”.

Sarver apologized in a statement released through the team Tuesday, saying he takes “full responsibility for what I have done. I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors of judgment are not in line with my personal philosophy or my values.”

Robert Sarver is 60 years old. He bought The Suns when he was 42. So he did almost all of these ugly things in his forties and fifties. At some point, each of us – people, rulers, countries – is who we are.


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(top photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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