The Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver has been called for a lifetime ban by the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) executive director Tamika Tremaglio, and PayPal has threatened to stop sponsoring the club if he continues to hold that position.
Tremaglio was asked to explain her views on ESPN’s NBA Today with Malika Andrews on Friday after she tweeted on Thursday that Sarver shouldn’t again take a managerial position. Meanwhile, Tremaglio concurred when he was asked if she intended a permanent ban for Sarver.
“We are absolutely calling for that,” Tremaglio said. “We do not want him to be in a position where he is managing or engaging with individuals who are engaging with our players or our players themselves.
“We are absolutely clear from the findings that are in that report that we do not want him to be in that position.”
Meanwhile, after an independent inquiry concluded Sarver acted aggressively, racially insensitive, and improperly, the NBA announced on Tuesday that it had fined him $10 million and suspended him for a year.
The NBA ordered the report last fall and found Sarver had “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and league rules and policies. This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.”
The research revealed that Sarver had “on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.” Meanwhile, he also “engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees.”
Tremaglio responded, “Speaking on behalf of our players,” when questioned.
“It is our players’ desire that, while we understand that there has been a thorough investigation and we’re very pleased that the NBA was able to follow through on that — because that’s clearly something we want to see happen — we also want to make it very clear that we do not want him back in a position where he will be impacting our players and those who serve our players on a daily basis.”
Additionally, Dan Schulman, the CEO of PayPal, declared that if Sarver stays with the Suns, the firm will not renew its sponsorship.
“PayPal is a values-driven company and has a strong record of combatting racism, sexism and all forms of discrimination,” Schulman said. “We have reviewed the report of the NBA league’s independent investigation into Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and have found his conduct unacceptable and in conflict with our values.”
The Suns declared that PayPal would be their first-ever jersey patch partner in October 2018.
“PayPal’s sponsorship with the Suns is set to expire at the end of the current season. In light of the findings of the NBA’s investigation, we will not renew our sponsorship should Robert Sarver remain involved with the Suns organization, after serving his suspension,” the statement continued.
“While we strongly reject the conduct of Robert Sarver, we remain supportive of the team, its players and the experienced and diverse talent now leading the organization, including Head Coach, Monty Williams, General Manager, James Jones, Assistant General Manager, Morgan Cato, and Senior Vice President of People and Culture, Kim Corbitt. “
NBA legends LeBron James and Chris Paul slammed the NBA for the punishment meted out to the Suns owner on Thursday, while Phoenix Suns vice chairman Jahm Najafi urged on Sarver to leave in an open letter to the team’s staff and players.
Sarver wasn’t given a lifetime suspension for his remarks, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated.
According to NBA.com, Silver stated: “The equivalent of a $10 million fine and a one-year suspension, I don’t know how to measure that against a job. I don’t have the right to take away his team … but to me, the consequences are severe.”
The Suns were contacted by CNN, but no response was received right away.