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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

LeBron James speaks out against punishment for Suns owner

LeBron James looking on

Jan 21, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) against the Orlando Magic during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James spoke out via Twitter on Wednesday to voice his dissatisfaction with the punishment for Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver.

Sarver was the target of a workplace misconduct investigation. The league concluded its investigation and on Tuesday announced punishment for Sarver. The 60-year-old owner was suspended one year and fined $10 million.

James expressed his unhappiness via Twitter.

“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 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 (sic) it,” James wrote.

Sarver was found to have used the N-word at least five times while recounting statements made by others. He was also found to have engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct towards female employees.

A $10 million fine is huge, and the 1-year suspension is significant. What more could the NBA have done than what they already did? James seems to have wanted Sarver stripped of his ownership and forced to sell the team.

There is a world of difference between the Sarver findings and what happened with Donald Sterling, who ended up selling the Clippers. There wasn’t any video/audio/written evidence of Sarver’s actions. Sarver also did not have the blatant history of racist allegations in several areas of life that Sterling did. And despite Sterling’s despicable actions and comments, the NBA based their actions on audio recorded in Sterling’s private life, which is a very slippery slope.

James, 37, has become very selective about what he speaks out against during his career. He is quick to call out the NBA over the Sarver punishment, but had very little to say about a murder near his school in Akron. He wants the NBA to do more to the Suns owner, but told Daryl Morey to keep his mouth shut about China.

James’ comments may come off as noble, but we have learned that his public comments are typically made out of self-interest. In this case, it seems like he and some other powerful people wanted to have Sarver removed as an owner so they could have someone more toward their liking take over Sarver’s place. There was one very interesting person seemingly positioning himself to take over as the majority owner too, but their ouster efforts failed.

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