Phoenix Suns Vice Chairman Calls For Team Owner Robert Sarver’s Resignation

Phoenix Suns minority owner Jahm Najafi is calling for the resignation of team owner Robert Sarver after the NBA disciplined Sarver for alleged misogyny and racist language used with Suns employees.

Sarver was handed a one-year suspension and $10 million fine Tuesday by the NBA.

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The Suns vice chairman (Najafi) released a letter Thursday, saying he wants Sarver to step down in order to “eradicate any form of racism, sexism, and bias.”

“In accordance with my commitment to helping eradicate any form of racism, sexism and bias, as Vice Chairman of the Phoenix Suns, I am calling for the resignation of Robert Sarver,” he noted.

The letter, as relayed by AZ Central added:

“Due to the NBA’s investigation and findings, I have no choice but to speak up on behalf of the hundreds of you who have been impacted by your interactions with Robert Sarver and the resulting investigation of his conduct.

“I first and foremost want to give my deepest thanks to all of you who garnered the courage to share your experiences, as difficult as it may have been, to help piece together a clearer picture of what work life must have been like for you over these past 18 years.

“There should be zero tolerance for discriminatory actions of any level, in any setting, let alone a professional one. There is no question that the findings determined that Mr. Sarver’s lewd, misogynist, and racist conduct had a substantial negative impact on you and has no place in our society.”

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Najalfi castigated Sarver for the allegations of worker harassment.

“The report confirmed by multiple eyewitnesses that Robert Sarver used the ‘N-word’ at least five times. The report confirmed Sarver engaged in conduct demeaning of female and pregnant employees. The report confirmed Sarver made crude and sexually inappropriate comments in professional settings.

“The report confirmed Sarver made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women and made inappropriate workplace physical conduct toward male employees.

Jahm Najafi with Colin Kaepernick Patrick Breen / The Republic

“Similar conduct by any CEO, executive director, president, teacher, coach, or any other position of leadership would warrant immediate termination. The fact that Robert Sarver ‘owns’ the team does not give him a license to treat others differently than any other leader. The fact that anyone would find him fit to lead because of this ‘ownership’ position is forgetting that NBA teams belong to the communities they serve. Team investors are merely temporary stewards.

“If we, as sports leaders, are not held to the same standards then how can we expect a functional society with integrity and respect on any level? We owe it to you: employees, players, partners, and your families to provide the same positive workplace environment we would require of any other business. …

“While I have no interest in becoming the managing partner, I will work tirelessly to ensure the next team steward treats all stakeholders with dignity, professionalism and respect.”

Figures around the NBA have taken a strong stance on Sarver’s punishment, with some calling for a harsher sentence.

Lakers star LeBron James posted Wednesday, via Twitter, that he wants to see more discipline taken against Sarver, who was the subject of a 10-month investigation by the NBA looking at over 70 Suns employees’ testimonies of harassment by Sarver.

Suns guard Chris Paul also posted a statement calling for more accountability by the Association.

“Like many others, I reviewed the report. I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read. This conduct especially towards women is unacceptable and must never be repeated,” Paul tweeted.

“I am of the view that the sanctions fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior.”

Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela


Written by Alejandro Avila

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