As one might expect, the pressure is mounting on the NBA after his decision to sanction Robert Sarver with a one-year suspension and a large fine for using racist and sexist remarks in front of his employees during his 18 years at the helm of the club. After the media releases of the director of the players’ union, Tamika Tremaglio, of LeBron James then of Chris Paul, captain of the Suns team, it was Jahm Najafi, the second shareholder who stepped up to the plate.
The latter proved to be much firmer than the declarations of indignation of the Paul-James tandem simply by demanding the resignation of Robert Sarver. A first step that could force the NBA to dismiss him, as it had done with Donald Sterling in 2014, an action that had marked the mandate of Adam Silver, which began a few months earlier.
“Similar conduct by a CEO, executive director, president, teacher, coach, or other managerial position would warrant immediate termination. The fact that Robert Sarver “owns” the team does not give him the right to treat others differently from any other leader. For anyone to find him fit to lead because of that ‘ownership’ position is to forget that NBA teams belong to the communities they serve.”, did he write. “Team investors are just temporary stewards. If we as sports leaders are not held to the same standards, how can we expect an efficient, honest and respectful society at all levels? We owe it to you, employees, players, partners and your families, to provide the same positive work environment that we would require of any other company. I cannot, in good faith, sit idly by and allow our children and future generations of fans to think that this behavior is condoned because of wealth and privilege. Therefore, in keeping with my commitment to help eradicate all forms of racism, sexism and bias, as Vice President of the Phoenix Suns, I call for the resignation of Robert Sarver.”
The noose is tightening
Jahm Najafi clarified that this posture was not motivated by personal ambitions. “While I have no interest in becoming a management partner (of the Suns), I will work tirelessly to ensure that the team’s next leader treats all stakeholders with dignity, professionalism and respect.”he continued.
To his credit, it can be pointed out that he had not co-signed statement of support from 13 Suns and Mercury co-owners following the Sarver affair, unlike a certain Sam Garvin, who has just been promoted by the NBA to “interim president” of the Suns franchise during the suspension of Robert Sarver.
At the same time, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego also released a statement co-signed by several city council members to express her dismay.
“It is unacceptable that the leaders of the organization are associated in any way with the despicable actions detailed in the report. We are equally concerned about a culture that would allow these actions to happen again and again, with disciplinary measures ineffective at best,” is it written. “We have asked to investigate any actions that we, as leaders of the City of Phoenix, may take in light of the corroborated details in the report. »