Chris Paul, 37, has been one of the pre-eminent figures in the world for two decades NBA. For one, there are very few point guards as good as him. On the other hand, he made a decisive contribution to the fact that the US basketball league is now considered one of the most progressive in the country. As president of the players' union NBAPA, he strengthened the rights of his colleagues, ensured better pay and organized the league-wide "Black Lives Matter" protest. He is also a big supporter of the WNBA women's league.
You could call it an irony of fate that Paul of all people played in the clubs whose owners had triggered racism and sexism scandals in recent years: in 2014 Donald Sterling (Los Angeles Clippers) asked his lover not to mix with black people to deliver Last week, a lawyer's report found that Robert Sarver (Phoenix Suns) had been making sexist and racist remarks about his workforce for years. Just like Sterling back then, Sarver has now announced that it will sell its franchise.
And just like Sterling eight years ago, he's not doing it because the NBA would have kicked him out - the league thought a fine and a year's suspension would be enough - but because public pressure was getting too much. Among others, Chris Paul had noted on Twitter that he thought the punishment was too lax. Other influential players as well as the NBAPA also called for Sarvers to be expelled. After a minority owner and the Suns shirt sponsor publicly questioned the collaboration, the pressure finally became too great.
The NBA should urgently reconsider its treatment of sexists and racists
In a statement, Sarver, 60, said he was looking for buyers for the Suns and WNBA team Phoenix Mercury. While he believes the one-year suspension is sufficient to improve, "in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that this is no longer possible."
The fact that even league boss Adam Silver let it be known that he welcomed Sarvers' decision seemed surprising at first. Wasn't he the one who ordered the lax punishment? no He said them, but they met the other 29 club owners, whose employee Silver is ultimately an employee. And they know how complicated and time-consuming it is to force someone to sell their franchise. They preferred to wait for the predictable reactions and let things take their course.
It's good that the voices of the mostly black players and their union carry so much weight in the NBA. Nevertheless, the NBA should urgently reconsider its dealings with sexists and racists. A league that also has the legacy of civil rights activists like Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar keeps, they are not worthy.