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NBPA Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio Calls on NBA to Ban Robert Sarver for Life

Erin WalshSeptember 16, 2022

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio is calling on the NBA to ban Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver for life after an investigation found he "engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards."

Tremaglio told ESPN's Malika Andrews during an appearance on NBA Today:

"We are absolutely calling for that. We do not want him to be in a position where he is managing or engaging with individuals who are engaging with our players or our players themselves. We are absolutely clear from the findings that are in that report that we do not want him to be in that position."

Malika Andrews @malika_andrews

“We are absolutely calling for that,” NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said when asked about banning Robert Sarver for life. <br><br>“I am speaking on behalf of our players.” <a href="https://t.co/MeSRNkgYFQ">pic.twitter.com/MeSRNkgYFQ</a>

"As the executive director of the NBPA, I am speaking on behalf of our players," she added. "It is our players' desire that while we understand that there has been a thorough investigation, and we're very pleased that the NBA was able to follow through on that, because that's clearly something that we want to see happen, we also want to make it very clear that we do not want him back in a position where he will be impacting our players and those who serve our players on a daily basis."

The NBA announced Tuesday that it had suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million after an investigation by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz found he "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."

In addition, the findings state that Sarver "made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women" and "frequently engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees."

The law firm noted that it interviewed 320 people and also reviewed more than 80,000 documents on the matter in its investigation.

ESPN's Baxter Holmes first reported on multiple allegations of racism and misogyny against Sarver in November 2021.

"The level of misogyny and racism is beyond the pale," one Suns co-owner said about Sarver, per Holmes. "It's embarrassing as an owner."

A former Suns executive added: "There's literally nothing you could tell me about him from a misogynistic or race standpoint that would surprise me."

Suns veteran Chris Paul, also a former NBPA president, has already revealed his displeasure with the NBA's punishment for Sarver, saying he believes it "fell short," given the findings of the investigation.

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.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James also shared his feelings on the matter, writing on Twitter that he felt "our league definitely got this wrong."

In 2014, the league forced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team after he made racist remarks over the phone to his ex-girlfriend. He was also fined $2.5 million.

When asked why Sarver didn't receive a similar punishment, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told reporters Wednesday that the two situations are completely different and that Sterling was found to have engaged in "blatant racist conduct directed at a select group of people."

Silver added, via ESPN's Tim Bontemps:

"I have certain authority by virtue of this organization, and that's what I exercise. I don't have the right to take away his team. I don't want to rest on that legal point because of course there could be a process to take away someone's team in this league. It's very involved, and I ultimately made the decision that it didn't rise to that level. But, to me, the consequences are severe here on Mr. Sarver."

Sarver purchased the Suns in 2004 for $401 million. He also owns the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and LaLiga's RCD Mallorca.

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