Sep 16, 2022 - Sports

NBA players' union head wants lifetime ban for Phoenix Suns owner

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The executive director for the National Basketball Players Association — the NBA's labor union — called for a lifetime ban of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, who was recently suspended for one year over workplace misconduct.

The big picture: Executive director Tamika Tremaglio told ESPN that she was speaking on behalf of players, some of whom have publicly disagreed with the NBA's punishment.

  • Lakers star LeBron James and Suns point guard Chris Paul have criticized the one-year ban, with Paul saying that it fell short in addressing "atrocious behavior."
  • "It is our players' desire that while we understand that there has been a thorough investigation ... we also want to make it very clear that we do not want him to be back in a position where he will be impacting our players and those who serve our players on a daily basis," Tremaglio said.

Why it matters: An independent investigation found that Sarver, the owner of the Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, engaged in "inequitable conduct toward female employees."

  • Sarver also "made many sex-related comments in the workplace" and "inappropriate comments on the physical appearance of female employees and other women," per the investigation.
  • He also "engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees" on several occasions, the league said.

What they're saying: "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 the players themselves," Tremaglio said.

  • "We are absolutely clear from the findings that are in the report that we do not want him to be in that position."

But NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday said that he felt the one-year suspension and the fine levied on Sarver were "severe."

  • Silver recognized Sarver's conduct as indefensible but said he did not have the right to take a team away from its owner.
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