Disgraced Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver proves pro sports owners can speak the woke talk, but they don’t always walk it. He’s been fined $10 million and suspended for a year by the NBA for a long history of racist and misogynistic behavior.
The NBA conducted an exhaustive investigation of Sarver’s tenure as Suns’ owner. It interviewed 320 current and former employees and reviewed more than 80,000 documents, email and text messages and videos.
The league discovered that Sarver “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.”
Sarver tried in vain to convince investigators he was engaging in fully woke behaviors by promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the hiring practices of the Suns and Mercury. In public, he contributed to social and racial justice causes. In private, he treated minorities like garbage.
Fake woke warrior Sarver must undergo training on showing employees respect and conducting his workplace appropriately.
The NBA is now requiring the Suns and Mercury to retain an outside firm to evaluate its efforts to foster a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace and submit to league discipline for failure to do so.
Sarver said he disagrees with some of the NBA’s findings, but he apologized for offending employees.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Sarver’s atrocious behavior “troubling and disappointing.” The commissioner also apologized to the victims of Sarver’s bad behavior.
The Suns say they really are “committed to creating a safe, respectful, and inclusive work environment that is free of discrimination and harassment.” Now they apparently mean it.
The NBA is scrambling to repair its badly tarnished brand as a woke organization. The league is trying to play catch-up by donating the $10 million from Sarver’s fine to “organizations that are committed to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace.”
When the NBA preaches about social and racial justice, it ought to first clean up its own messy house.