Draymond Green is calling for a league-wide vote.
The Golden State Warriors star called on the NBA board of governors to officially have a vote on whether Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver should be allowed to keep his team after the league’s one-year suspension and fine.
“So the one thing that I am going to need is someone to explain to me why is it that it was okay to get rid of [former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald] Sterling, but it’s not possible to force Robert Sarver to sell after what we read? … I’m asking that there be a vote. If that’s the only way, then let’s see what those numbers are. Let’s see what they are.”
Would league owners actually remove Robert Sarver?
The NBA announced last week that it was fining Sarver $10 million and suspending him for one year after an investigation determined that he used the N-word at least five times, demeaned and bullied female employees and made inappropriate physical contact with male employees, among other things.
Sarver can return for the 2023-24 season, and will be replaced by Suns vice chairman Sam Garvin in the interim.
There has been significant criticism and blowback after the punishment came down, and many have compared it to when the NBA forced former Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team in 2014 after similar incidents. Players like LeBron James and Chris Paul, as well as Suns minority owner Jahm Najafi, have called on Sarver to sell his franchise. PayPal also said it would end its partnership with the Suns if Sarver is still with the franchise following his suspension.
In order for Sarver to be removed from his post, it would require either commissioner Adam Silver banning him for life — like he did with Sterling, though he’s already passed on that option with Sarver — or NBA owners could take a vote, like Green wants. No vote was actually held among owners with Sterling.
In order for them to remove Sarver, 75% of the board would have to vote yes.
While it’s unclear how much interest there is among owners to actually have a vote, and Green may not be happy with the outcome, it would put owners on the record. And, Green said, Sarver’s punishment wasn’t anywhere near severe enough.
“To get suspended for one year and fined $10 million, I mean, the only way you get suspended for one year and fined $10 million is if you are the owner of an asset and you can’t be fired,” Green said. “Because I think anyone else in the NBA who — and especially from a front office standpoint, like maybe not a player, although we’ve seen players get thrown out of the league for less — would 1000% be fired if half of the things that came out of the investigation into Robert Sarver came out about anyone else.”
As a Black man, he said, it’s going to be extremely uncomfortable knowing Sarver is still in a position of power when he returns. The Suns, he said, are “pretty much built on the backs of African Americans,” and just going “back to normal” next year doesn’t sit right with him.
“To think that someone like Robert Sarver that’s acting in that manner can continue to represent us? That’s bulls**t,” Green said. “You can’t continue to represent way more people than yourself with those views, with speaking to people the way he did, with treating African Americans and women the way he has, that’s not OK.
“This guy gets to just come back in the fold as if he’s still representing us? And as if he’s a part of us? That can’t be so. Because for us, especially as African Americans, I’m uncomfortable. I’m very uncomfortable.”