Wednesday, December 8, 2021

NBA: Firm will investigate Sun after reports of racism, misogyny

PHOENIX (AP) — The NBA on Thursday asked a law firm to investigate the Phoenix Suns after a published report that owner Robert Sarver had a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents during the franchise’s 17-year tenure . .

ESPN said it spoke to dozens of current and former employees of the team for the story., including some who have described Sarwar’s inappropriate behavior. Most of the allegations are from anonymous sources but some are on record.

In the ESPN report, Sarwar denied or disputed most of the allegations through his legal team. The Sons also vehemently denied the report in a lengthy statement released on Thursday.

“I fully welcome an impartial NBA investigation that may prove to be our only outlet to clean my name and the reputation of the organization I am so proud of,” Sarwar said.

Sarwar’s wish will be received. The NBA released its statement from executive vice president of communications Mike Bass, saying the allegations were “extremely serious” and the league has asked the Wachtel Lipton law firm to “launch a comprehensive investigation.”

“The NBA and WNBA are committed to providing a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees,” Bass said. “Once the investigation is complete, its findings will provide the basis for any league action.”

Among the allegations: Former Suns coach Earl Watson said Sarwar was upset that Golden State forward Drummond Greene used the n-word during a game in 2016 and that the owner used the n-word several times in a row, expressing his displeasure. repeated. Watson said he told Sarwar that he could not use that word.

Watson was the Suns’ coach for all or three seasons before being fired three games in the 2017–18 season.

Sarwar said in his statement that Watson was “clearly not a credible source.”

“While there is so much wrong and confusing in this story that I hardly know where to begin, let me be clear: the n-word is not part of my vocabulary,” Sarver said. “I have never said the n-word to anyone or any group of people, or referred to someone or a group of people by that word, either verbally or in writing. I do not use that word does.”

Watson released his statement via the Toronto Raptors, where he is now an assistant coach.

“I have no interest in getting involved in the ongoing fight for fact,” Watson said. “Instead, I want to commend the courage of many players, officials and staff to fight a toxic environment of racial insensitivity, sexual harassment and micro-aggression.

“17 years in basketball and the NBA have given me the financial privilege to speak my truth, but we can’t forget about those who must keep quiet for fear of losing their jobs.”

The report also details a story of how Sarwar gave a picture of his wife in a sans bikini to the staff. More than a dozen employees also said that Sarwar had a history of “making lewd remarks at all staff meetings,” the report said.

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The Sun hosted the Houston Rockets on Thursday night and Phoenix coach Monty Williams addressed the report before the game. Williams – who is black – said she had not spoken with Sarver since the ESPN story was published and that if she had heard the owner say anything implicated in the story, “I would not have been in this seat.”

“My reaction is a lot to do this process,” Williams said. “There are a lot of things out there and it is still not clear to me as far as the facts are concerned. As the caretaker of the programme, I am being told all these things are of serious nature. These allegations are sensitive – It’s an understatement.”

Williams said he would understand if any of his players didn’t want to play because of the situation on Thursday, but said none of them expressed that sentiment at this point.

Sons guard Devin Booker – the team’s longest-serving player at seven years – was the only player on the current roster to play for Watson.

He said Watson was credible and said “he’s my guy” but added that he didn’t know about the Watson-Sarver conversation until he read the ESPN story.

“I was not aware of the situation,” Booker said. “In my seven years here, I haven’t paid attention to it, but that doesn’t make me insensitive to the subject. I think the NBA started an investigation, they’re going to bring up the facts instead of saying it.” I’m sure the NBA has it in good hands and will do proper research to find out the truth,” he said.

The NBA Players Association said in a statement that it is “continuing to review the allegations in today’s ESPN story. We consider these allegations serious and appreciate the league’s decision to conduct an investigation. Until the process is complete.” Jati, we will defer any further comment.”

In the ESPN story, Bass said the NBA had “not received complaints of misconduct at the Sunus organization through any of our processes, including our confidential workplace misconduct hotline or other correspondence.”

Sarwar has owned Sons since 2004. The 59-year-old Phoenix businessman also owns the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.

The Sons are coming off one of the most successful seasons in their history, making it to the NBA Finals with Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton before losing in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sun also made it to the finals in 1976 and 1993 but never won the championship.

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More AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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