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Suns Vice Chair Jahm Najafi Calls for Robert Sarver to Resign After NBA Suspension

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 16, 2022

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A prominent voice within the Phoenix Suns organization does not want to see Suns and Phoenix Mercury managing partner Robert Sarver back in his role.

"I am calling for the resignation of Robert Sarver," Jahm Najafi, who possesses the second-largest stake in the Suns behind only Sarver, said in a statement, per ESPN's Baxter Holmes.

The NBA announced Tuesday it suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million after an independent investigation revealed a history of racist and sexist behaviors:

NBA Communications @NBAPR

The NBA today issued the following statement: <a href="https://t.co/jjlBK771PT">pic.twitter.com/jjlBK771PT</a>

"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," Najafi continued.

Mike Vigil @protectedpick

Jahm Najafi, the second largest Suns stakeholder, has publicly called for the resignation of Robert Sarver in an open letter to Suns fans. <a href="https://t.co/z7dMzUyHSP">pic.twitter.com/z7dMzUyHSP</a>

He is far from the only one to express concern with Sarver being permitted to keep the team following the one-year suspension.

LeBron James and Chris Paul were among the most notable people to suggest the NBA did not do enough in its punishment:

LeBron James @KingJames

behavior. I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this aint it.

Chris Paul @CP3

I am of the view that the sanctions fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior. My heart goes out to all of the people that were affected.

What's more, National Basketball Players Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio released a statement that said Sarver "should never hold a managerial position within our league again."

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Statement from Tamika Tremaglio, Executive Director of <a href="https://twitter.com/TheNBPA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheNBPA</a>, about the "horrible" conduct from Suns owner Robert Sarver to <a href="https://twitter.com/andscape?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@andscape</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/espn?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@espn</a> who she believes "should never hold a managerial position within our league again." <a href="https://t.co/q4uEU7Ke6h">pic.twitter.com/q4uEU7Ke6h</a>

Sarver's misconduct first generated national attention when Holmes reported in November 2021 that Sarver was facing allegations of racism and misogyny during his time with the Suns.

The league initiated an independent investigation from the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, which summarized its findings in a 43-page report that said Sarver "said the N-word in repeating or purporting to repeat a Black person on at least five occasions during his tenure, including after being advised not to do so" and made many "sex-related comments in the workplace."

It also found he made "inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women" and "frequently engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees—including by yelling and cursing at them."

While NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling from the league for life and fined the former Los Angeles Clippers governor $2.5 million in 2014 when Sterling was heard making racist comments on tape, he told reporters Wednesday the Sarver situation is "dramatically different."

Yet there are a number of prominent voices who have no interest in seeing Sarver return to his role with the Suns.

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