LeBron James released a statement on social media criticizing the NBA after the league banned Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million for abusive workplace conduct. James, along with other NBA players, believe that the punishment is not enough.

“I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong,” James said on Twitter.

As the face of the NBA, James’ dissenting opinion represents a schism between players and management regarding Sarver’s actions. Following a 10-month investigation, the NBA found that Sarver used racist and misogynist language in the workplace as owner of the Suns and Phoenix Mercury, the team’s WNBA counterpart. This included repeated use of the N-word as well as consistent bullying and harassment of female employees.

In 2014, former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling faced similar allegations and went on to receive a lifetime ban from the sport. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has rejected comparisons between Sterling and Sarver, defending the latter owner’s punishment in a press conference Wednesday.

“Let me reiterate: The conduct is indefensible,” Silver said. “But I feel we dealt with it in a fair manner, both taking into account the totality of the circumstances, not just those particular allegations but the 18 years in which Mr. Sarver has owned the Suns and the Mercury.”

Silver also said that while the league’s investigation revealed Sarver’s unacceptable behavior, “there were also many, many people who had very positive things to say about him through this process.”

Though the commissioner was satisfied with the punishment for Sarver, James was one of many players who said it wasn’t enough. Suns star Chris Paul also came forward to criticize the league’s verdict.

“I am of the view that the sanctions fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior,” Paul said. “My heart goes out to all of the people that were affected.”

After his punishment was revealed, Sarver said he disagreed with the league’s decision but apologized for his conduct in a statement released through the Suns and Mercury organizations. Following his one-year ban, he will be able to continue as owner of both teams.

Read more about:

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Listen to the uInterview Podcast!
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!