NBA scandal: team managers charged with harassment, workplace bullying and racism

Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns

Photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

The foundations of the NBA are reeling from recent Complaints Against Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns Team Owners.

The president of operations of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers team, Neil Olshey, is under an independent investigation commissioned by the franchise itself by reports of workplace harassment and intimidation.

The news of the Olshey investigation was reported by The Athletic and confirmed later by ESPN through internal sources within the team.

Reports indicate that the executive’s actions have turned the Trail Blazers’ work environment into one of hostile work with cases of harassment and intimidation.

Through a statement, the franchise of Portland confirmed independent investigation, although he did not detail which team members were accused or in what specific situations.

“We were recently notified of concerns about the work environment by staff. In response, we immediately contacted O’Melveny & Myers. an external firm with significant experience in this area, to carry out a complete, fair and independent review of these concerns and will take the appropriate measures based on its results ”, they explained in the letter.

It is not the first time that Olshey’s name has made the headlines of the sports press. At the beginning of the season he was in the media due to his position of defender of coach Chauncey Billups, hired during the offseason amid concerns about his participation in a rape prosecution in 1997.

Alleged racism within the Suns

Another under scrutiny, though still without a formal investigation against him, is Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver.

Has also been ESPN who revealed that Sarver’s behavior in recent years has been that of a “racist and misogynist”, which has caused discomfort and multiple resignations in the team’s management.

In a post, the sports network revealed several episodes of the Phoenix manager’s hostile attitude and personality.

One of them occurred on October 30, 2016 at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. Coach Earl Watson was rebuked by Sarver after the loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Presumably used the word “black” to refer to power forward Draymond Green and how he played in that match, which is why he claimed Watson for the lack of a mark.

The sports network interviewed more than 70 former employees who described the workplace as “toxic and hostile” and they point out that Sarver has used “racially insensitive language” on several occasions in the office.

Some employees related how Sarver once sent them a photo of his wife in a bikini and, together with her, he performed oral sex on her.

“The level of misogyny and racism is beyond the limits … it’s disgraceful as an owner,” said a co-owner of the identity protected Suns.

The manager’s response has come through his attorneys: “I have never called anyone or any group of people with the N word, nor have I referred to anyone or any group of people with the N word, either verbally or written. I don’t use that word. It is abhorrent, ugly, degrading and against everything I believe in. “

NBA and Players Union deny having knowledge of Sarver’s behavior

For its part, the organization of the NBA and the Players Union denied last Thursday having known of the alleged racist and misogynistic behavior of the Phoenix Suns owner, Robert Sarver, since he took over the team in 2004.

Also, Jason Rowley, president and CEO of the Suns, defended Sarver: “This story is completely scandalous and false. He does not represent, at all, the Robert Sarver with whom I have worked for 15 years. He is not a racist and he is not a sexist ”.

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NBA scandal: team managers charged with harassment, workplace bullying and racism