There is trouble brewing in Oregon.
According to multiple reports, Portland Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen and the organization have launched an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct.
Interestingly, the accused is the team’s president of basketball operations and general manager, Neil Olshey. On Saturday, the team released a statement that they will conduct a “full, fair and independent” review of the matter.
The Bigger Statement
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 6, 2021
“The Portland Trail Blazers organization was recently notified of concerns around workplace environment by non-player personnel at the practice facility. In response, we immediately engaged O’Melveny & Myers, an outside firm with significant expertise in this area, to conduct a full, fair and independent review into these concerns and will take appropriate action based on its outcome. While we cannot comment on this pending matter, we are committed to continuing to build an organization that positively impacts our colleagues, communities, and the world in which we live and play.”
According to The Athletic, at minimum, one Trail Blazers employee has reported potential misconduct. The report spurred the team owner and the organization to open a formal investigation.
Per Yahoo Sports, the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers will conduct interviews with Blazers front office employees this week. However, according to the report, employees suffered “10 years of mistreatment leading to mental and physical stress.”
Jusuf Nurkic on Neil Olshey and the investigation: "All I know is what's in the release. I can't really say anything else. As far as relationship, I don't think we have one. It's professional. That's it."
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) November 7, 2021
Neil Olshey has been the Trail Blazers general manager since 2012. Three years later, he was promoted to president of basketball operations but had been in executive roles before coming to Portland. The 56-year-old also worked with the Los Angeles Clippers for nine years, starting in 2003 as the general manager and vice president of basketball operations.
Olshey was employed by the Clippers when disgraced former owner Donald Sterling still had control of the team.
Professional Sports Power Purge
The revelation of an investigation by the Portland Trail Blazers comes on the heels of an ESPN investigative report that said the Phoenix Suns’ Robert Sarver has engaged in a years-long pattern of misogynistic and racist behavior as the team owner.
Every Blazer fan vibing waiting for the “Portland and Neil Olshey have parted ways” tweet to drop pic.twitter.com/J5fdCku36K
— 🤠JR🤠 (@pdxbrocialite) November 6, 2021
Former and current employees have accused Sarver of repeatedly using the N-word. In addition, he faces accusations of exhibiting misogynistic and sexist behavior during his 17-years with the Phoenix Suns.
Sarver has denied the allegations, especially the usage of the N-word. In addition, he went on the offensive before the ESPN piece ever came out, releasing a statement when the story was still just a rumor.
Neil Olshey was with Clippers when Donald Sterling owned the team
— Its Clips City, Red and Blue (@LAClippersTeam) November 6, 2021
There has been an expansive purge in professional sports since the exposure of emails former Raiders coach Jon Gruden’s racist, homophobic, and generally toxic communications with Bruce Allen, former president of the Washington Football Team.
The NFL Been A Gumbo Pot Of Toxic Masculinty And White Privilege | But You Needed Gruden Receipts Tho
In hockey, the Chicago Blackhawks recently dealt with allegations that they mishandled an investigation. The incident involved an assistant coach accused of sexually assaulting a player during the team’s Stanley Cup run in 2010.
Top executives, including Blackhawks GM and president of hockey operations Stan Bowman, resigned.
Blackhawks Scandal Exposes Sexual Assault In The NHL | Taking Male Accusations Seriously
Commitment To The Process
Now the NBA is homing in on the reports of workplace misconduct. The launching of independent investigations shows a commitment to the process.
We are now in the aftermath of the protest movement for social justice and the economic fallout America received from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear the next phase in professional sports is a weeding out of the old guard.
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Professional sports hold themselves accountable across various leagues for a culture devoid of diversity, professionalism, and compassion. However, it appears a reckoning and awakening has come.