Dhe vice chairman of the NBA team Phoenix Suns, Jahm Najafi, has asked team owner Robert Sarver to step down. Because Sarver had made racist and sexist comments for years and treated employees of the basketball team unprofessionally, he was from the National Basketball Association was banned for a year and fined $10 million on Tuesday.
Many players in the league find this punishment too mild. Also NBA superstar LeBronJames complained publicly. Najafi wrote in an open letter on Thursday that he could not sit back and allow children and future generations of fans to think that Sarver’s behavior was being tolerated because of his wealth and privilege.
NBA chief defends penalty
“So, and consistent with my commitment to helping eradicate all forms of racism, sexism and prejudice, I, as Executive Vice President of the Phoenix Suns, call on Robert Sarver to resign,” Najafi wrote.
NBA boss Adam Silver described Sarver’s punishment on Wednesday as harsh but appropriate and said he knew more about the results of the investigation than the general public.
He also emphasized that there are high constitutional hurdles in the United States for taking someone’s property – and Sarver, who owns the WNBA team Phoenix Mercury in addition to the Suns, is not an employee or managing director.
Superstar LeBron James took to Twitter and criticized Sarver’s punishment. “There is no place in our league for such behavior,” James wrote. “It makes no difference whether you play for a team or own it.”
Sarver acquired the Suns in 2004 for $401 million. The franchise is now worth an estimated $1.55 billion.