Suns minority owner calls on Robert Sarver to resign after NBA report on workplace misconduct


Several noteworthy NBA numbers, Including LeBron James and Chris Paulcalled for Phoenix Suns Majority Robert Sarver has been kicked out of the league after an investigation uncovered a pervasive pattern of workplace misconduct.

This group now has a new ally: the owner of the second largest stake in the team.

Suns Vice Chairman Jahm Najafi, a Phoenix-based private equity investor, issued an open letter to Suns employees and players Thursday condemning the behavior described in the NBA report and calling for Sarver to resign as the team’s managing partner, via Duane Rankin from The Arizona Republic:

I cannot stop judging and allowing our children and future generations of fans to believe that this behavior is permissible because of wealth and privilege. Therefore, in accordance with my commitment to help eradicate any form of racism, sexism and prejudice, as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Phoenix Suns, I am calling for the resignation of Robert Sarver. While I am not interested in becoming the Managing Partner, I will work tirelessly to ensure that the next team host treats all stakeholders with dignity, professionalism and respect.

NBA Sarver suspended all league activities for a year and fined him $10 millionbut he stopped forcing him to sell the team, As they did with the previous one Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended the decision by noting the differences in the two cases.

Among other things, the league’s investigation found that Sarver used the N-word at least five times when transmitting statements from black people, to insult and intimidate female employees, and to make inappropriate physical contact with male employees.

Since then, The Suns has appointed a different Vice President, Sam Garvin, As temporary governor of the team.

This is not the first time Najafi has spoken out against Sarver, describing the allegations as “unacceptable” if true when they were first reported last year and He apparently sent a clear message by attending the Suns match with Colin Kaepernickwith whom he co-chairs a company.

Jahm Najafi, the minority owner of Phoenix Suns, has called for the resignation of majority owner Robert Sarver following a scathing report on the team's toxic workplace.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jahm Najafi, the minority owner of Phoenix Suns, has called for the resignation of majority owner Robert Sarver following a scathing report on the team’s toxic workplace. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Minority owner Suns Jahm Najafi full speech on Robert Sarver

Open letter to Phoenix Suns staff and players:

Due to the NBA’s investigation and findings, I have no choice but to speak on behalf of the hundreds of you who have been affected by your interactions with Robert Sarver and the resulting investigation into his behavior. First and foremost I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of you who have had the courage to share your experiences, however difficult it may be, to help put together a clearer picture of what working life has been like for you over these past 18 years.

There should be zero tolerance for discriminatory actions of any level, anywhere, let alone professional. There is no doubt that the results determined that Mr. Sarver’s lewd, misogynistic and racist behavior had a significant negative impact on you and has no place in our society. The report confirmed by several eyewitnesses that Robert Sarver used the “n-word” at least 5 times. The report confirmed Sarver’s involvement in behavior that insults female employees and pregnant women. The report confirmed that Sarver made crude and sexually inappropriate comments in professional settings. The report confirmed that Sarver made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women and took inappropriate physical behavior in the workplace towards male employees.

Words and actions are important.

Such conduct by any CEO, CEO, president, teacher, coach, or other leadership position warrants immediate termination. The fact that Robert Sarver “owns” the team does not give him license to treat others differently than any other leader. The fact that anyone would find it convenient to lead because of this “ownership” position ignores that NBA teams belong to the communities they serve. Team investors are just temporary agents. If we, as sports leaders, do not adhere to the same standards, how can we expect a functional society with integrity and respect at any level? We owe it to you: your employees, players, partners and your families to provide the same positive work environment we demand in any other business.

I cannot stop judging and allowing our children and future generations of fans to believe that this behavior is permissible because of wealth and privilege. Therefore, in accordance with my commitment to help eradicate any form of racism, sexism and prejudice, as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Phoenix Suns, I am calling for the resignation of Robert Sarver. While I am not interested in becoming the Managing Partner, I will work tirelessly to ensure that the next team host treats all stakeholders with dignity, professionalism and respect.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *