NBA Slaps Sarver On The Wrist For Bad Behavior

Sarver is still the owner, rather governor.

Robert Sarver remains the owner, rather governor, of the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns and the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Mercury because none of his players were ready to go on a strike over his insensitive remarks nor did any of his or the league’s business’s marketing partners announce publicly that they were fleeing. That is why Sarver will remain owner, rather governor because the National Basketball Association’s public relations arm thought governor sounds better than owner, of the two franchises. That is a far cry from 2014 when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver thought it was time to strip Donald Sterling of his Los Angeles Clippers franchise after audio was released on Harvey Levin’s TMZ strip programming that caught Sterling saying disparaging things. Within three days Sterling was gone after his players threatened to walkout and more importantly NBA and Clippers marketing partners withdrew financial support. The NBA is loathed to strip owners, rather governors, of their business. In fact all sports leagues seem to be of a similar thought, after all the owners, rather governors, are the bosses not a commissioner.

Officially, the NBA suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million. Neither is much of a punishment. The NBA said in a statement an independent investigation found 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.” But Sarver will be back. He will make an apology and claim it is a learning experience and he will not repeat his behavior. The league will justify his return. Suns and Mercury fans will still buy tickets and all will be forgotten, eventually.

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Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, middle, huddles with head coach Monty Williams, bottom left, center Deandre Ayton (22) and teammates during the second half of Game 5 of basketball’s NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Saturday, July 17, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)