NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said she speaks on behalf of NBA players and on Friday called for a lifetime ban on Phoenix Suns majority owner Robert Sarver, who was suspended by the league for a year for making racist and misogynistic comments.
“We expressly demand that [lifetime ban]’ Tremaglio said in an interview on ESPN’s NBA Today. “We don’t want him to be in a position where he’s managing people or working with people who come into contact with our players or the players themselves. It is clear from the report’s findings that we do not want him in this position.”
Tremaglio confirmed she is speaking on behalf of the players, with her comments coming after Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Suns point guard Chris Paul tweeted their disappointment at the NBA’s punishment of Sarver earlier this week.
“It’s what our players want, that while we understand there’s been a thorough investigation, and while we’re very pleased that the NBA was able to pull this off – because that’s clearly something we want to see – we’d like to.” also make it very clear that we don’t want him to be in a position again where he’s going to influence our players and those who serve our players on a day-to-day basis,” Tremaglio said.
In addition to the year-long ban, Sarver was fined $10 million after the NBA on Tuesday released its findings of a 10-month independent investigation into allegations of workplace abuse during Sarver’s tenure as managing partner of the Suns, which turned over spanned nearly two decades.
The NBA commissioned an investigation following an ESPN story in November 2021 detailing allegations of racism and misogyny during Sarver’s 17 years as owner.
Tremaglio told ESPN that she has voiced her views to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, although it remains unclear whether the league’s punishment against Sarver will change.
“I don’t know how open [Silver] is in relation to the desire to make the change,” said Tremaglio. “I think it’s our hope that it will be very clear that Mr Sarver should not be able to come back and take a managerial position. We heard from other owners. We heard from sponsors etc. I think it’s pretty clear there’s no expectation of him returning.
Tremaglio was asked if there had been talks with players about boycotting games as training camp approaches.
“We haven’t had those talks yet,” Tremaglio said. “We are all preparing for a season. … But I think it’s very clear that our players are incredibly upset about what happened. Their hearts go out to the families and individuals who have actually endured this for such a long period of time. But at the same time, they realize they have a job to do and they’re really looking forward to moving forward with the season.
Tremaglio added: “Honestly, I know that we never want our players to be in a position where they are unsafe, or for people they are around to be unsafe. Mr. Sarver had the ability to call the shots at the top. And for us, having people in a leadership role influencing the game in this way is detrimental to our players’ success and our players’ safety, and it will not be tolerated.”
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