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NBA superstar LeBron James has been left fuming at the punishment handed down to Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver after investigations into him unearthed toxic, racist and sexist behaviour.
The NBA suspended the Suns' owner for one year and fined him $10 million after it was found that he had fostered a ‘toxic’ work environment in his 17 years running the club.
An independent investigation found that he had violated workplace standards with conduct such as ‘racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct’ as well as bullying.
Despite his punishment LA Lakers legend, LeBron James believes the sanctions should have been much tougher.
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 (@KingJames) September 14, 2022
Back in 2014, then-LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the league for life after he was recorded partaking in racist language.
James took to Twitter to voice his criticism on the latest punishment, writing: “Read through the Sarver stories a few times now.
“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 behaviour.
“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 workplace.
“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.”
The investigation was commissioned by the NBA after ESPN published an article citing more than 70 Suns employees who had alleged the toxic environment in the club.
Sarver, who also owns the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, denied the allegations and at the time said he welcomed the investigation.
Upon the results, Sarver released a statement, saying: “Good leadership requires accountability.
“For the Suns and Mercury organisations, that begins with me.
“While I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA’s report, I would like to apologise for my words and actions that offended our employees. I take full responsibility for what I have done.
“I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values.”
The investigation included interviews with 320 current and former employees as well as Sarver himself while 80,000 documents and materials were also looked at.
The results found that Sarver had on at least five occasions ‘repeated the N-word’ while also engaging in ‘inequitable conduct toward female employees, (and) made sex-related comments in the workplace’.