By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist
As all the NBA teams and players are gearing up for training camp in less than two weeks and fans across the league are getting excited about the upcoming season, the NBA world was rocked by the news coming out of Phoenix, Arizona. After a one-year investigation by an outside law firm, Robert Sarver, the main owner of the Phoenix Suns was accused of repeatedly making racist and sexist comments and presiding over a toxic workplace environment. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver promptly handed out a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine (max fine allowed by NBA). Sarver did not deny the charges against him and issued a statement apologizing for his actions.
However, after the NBA’s punishment, many people who were victims of Sarver’s actions were angered and expressed their displeasure at the league for not handing out a stiffer penalty. LeBron James, the unofficial spokesperson of the NBA’s players, issued a statement via Twitter that Sarver does not deserve to remain as an NBA owner. Paypal, one of the Phoenix Suns’ major sponsors, announced that they would withdraw their sponsorship because of Sarver’s actions.
Silver had a press conference where he stated in his opinion, the level of Sarver’s actions did not rise to the level of taking his team from him.
Commissioner Silver, I wholeheartedly disagree with your conclusion. You were resolute in taking the Los Angeles Clippers from Donald Sterling for his racist words that were caught on video. Sarver not only made racist statements after being warned that they were offensive, he also made sexist remarks to women.
If Silver would have handed out more than $10 million if allowed, then in my opinion, he deserved more than a one-year suspension. I believe that he deserved a five-year ban in addition to the fine. Most likely with that length of time handed out, he would voluntarily sell the team.
Now, the NBA has a PR problem because many players will start to speak out just like Draymond Green who called for a vote of NBA owners regarding Sarver’s continued presence in the league.
I predict that the level of criticism about Sarver’s punishment will continue to escalate and the noise will continue to rise and Sarver will eventually announce that he is selling the team. However, worth noting, he still will make about a $300+ million-dollar profit for walking away.
EDITOR’S NOTE: At presstime, Sarver had announced that he is preparing to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury.