The Robert Sarver saga seems to have finally found its amicable resolution.
Reports say Phoenix Suns owner Sarver has succumbed to the public pressure and begun the process of selling both his NBA (Phoenix Suns) and WNBA (Phoenix Mercury) franchises.
“There were concerns around the NBA that his appetite to exist as a pariah in the league would continue. That he would not go away easily,” said ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. “But now he is going to sell the team and certainly has left the NBA, his ownership peers off the hook, who were not going to move for a vote to expel him as an owner.”
The NBA suspended Sarver for one year and fined him a slap on the wrist of $10M for racist and misogynistic remarks made to his employees and fostering an environment that poorly represented the league and its owners. Similar to what happened to former Clippers governor Donald Sterling, a growing number of NBA community members are voicing their disdain for the league’s decision to hand down a one-year ban and a $10 million fine. Some find it downright egregious.
As the story grew legs, an increased amount of murmuring within NBA circles about the weak punishment afforded the disgraced governor started to gain ground on social media and sports telecasts.
Eventually LeBron James spoke out about it, and once that happened Draymond Green was not too far behind.
Read through the Sarver stories a few times now. I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t need to explain why. Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2022
With NBA commissioner Adam Silver unwilling to dispense the same kind of justice he did in the Donald Sterling situation, Green went as far as calling for a vote amongst all of the NBA governors, excluding Sarver of course, to decide the owner of two major American sports franchises’ fate.
Green expressed this sentiment on his podcast “The Draymond Green Show”, which went up on Tuesday.
“It’s a little baffling to me that we’ll walk into the arena next year,” Green said on his podcast. “The Phoenix Suns will walk into the arena next year, he’ll sit on the sideline, and we’ll just continue on playing. So, the one thing that I am going to need is someone to explain to me why is it that it was OK to get rid of [LA Clippers owner Donald] Sterling, but it’s not possible to force Robert Sarver to sell after what we read?
“I’m asking that there be a vote. If that’s the only way, then let’s see what those numbers are. Let’s see what they are.”
The NBA requires three-quarters of votes from the governors of the NBA to ostracize another governor from his position, forcing him to sell the team in the process. If the NBA “Illuminati” is anything like we picture it to be, getting Sarver voted out would have been an almost unsurmountable uphill battle for Adam Silver and the NBA.
Trying to tell sports owners, billionaires, how to run their businesses always leads to an even more fractured league, because these guys don’t like being told what to do by their employees.
Fortunately, Draymond didn’t need the vote to occur. The problem took care of itself as Sarver wilted under mounting pressure from sponsors and the NBA community.
Wojnarowski says the public outcry definitely affected how swiftly Sarver put the team up for sale after initially accepting his punishment but looking quite unsympathetic to the situation.
“By all accounts it absolutely did accelerate his decision to sell both the Suns and the Mercury,” Woj told ESPN viewers. “Remember, Robert Sarver, when the league was trying to get him to voluntarily accept a one-year suspension and fine, he pushed back very hard, I’m told. This was not someone who was showing a lot of regret or sorrow about what he did.”
So in the end, Sarver does suffer the same consequences as Donald Sterling, which will also include a huge payday when he eventually completes sale of both franchises.
The consequences for Sterling, who was exposed for being a racist, didn’t include a vote either. In his first historical power move as new NBA commissioner, Silver bluntly dropped the hammer and banned Sterling for life and forced him to sell his team.
Draymond and the growing number of NBA stars unhappy with the initial punishment wanted similar treatment for Sarver.
When Sterling was banned for life for his racism, many feared that it would set a precedent, something that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban envisioned. Silver, who is constantly trying to navigate a delicate line between a democracy and a monarchy in NBA politics, is beyond relieved to not have to make a brash choice that could place him in the bad graces of many powerful NBA governors.
Draymond Green is very outspoken and intelligent. He knows how NBA politics play and at the very least wanted Sarver to be truly held accountable for his actions. In any event, everybody gets what they want. The players get rid of a racist owner. The league and Adam Silver get rid of a person who would have been a growing media nightmare as the season approached. And Sarver, who acquired the franchise 16 years ago from former owner Jerry Colangelo for $401M, will see a return of close to $2B for a Suns franchise that is one of the more talented and popular franchises in the NBA and rising.
Read More TSL Stories: