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A terrible scandal broke out in the USA because of one of the popular rich people associated with sports in the country. NBA Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was fined $10 million and suspended from the League for one year.
The reason for his punishment were proven accusations that he repeatedly used the word “negro” in disputes with his employees. They, in turn, filed a complaint, as they took this to be an insult, discrimination and a manifestation of racism. There were also reports of sexual assaults against him, but no convincing evidence was found for them.
After the amount of Sarver’s sentence became clear, a stormy protest followed from a number of organizations protecting the rights of people of color in the United States. The largest of them, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), described the 60-year-old’s fine as laughable. According to them, a financial penalty of this size is like a fine for improper parking for a person with a fortune of 800 million dollars.
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One of the NBA’s biggest stars, LeBron James, also expressed his displeasure with the small punishment. According to him, the owner of the Phoenix Suns should have been permanently suspended from the League.
“I read the information several times. I’ll be honest… the NBA made the wrong decision. I don’t need to explain why. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: There is no place for this kind of behavior in our sport,” said the furious leader of the Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was forced to respond to the attacks. He had to explain why Robert Sarver was suspended for just one year, and a few years earlier, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for good. In 2014, Sterling attacked her boyfriend Vi Stiviano over a photo with the legendary Magic Johnson, using the words: “I’m mad that you want to be associated with ink. You probably sleep with them! Do whatever you want, just don’t shove them in my face and don’t take them to my team’s games.”
“For us as an organization, it’s about different matters. In the case of Donald Sterling, we witnessed blatant racial hatred directed at a particular group of people. I was personally shocked to find out what the working environment at the Phoenix Suns has been like for the past 18 years. I must apologize to the former and some of the current staff of the club for ignoring their signals over the years. I understand that our behavior was inexcusable,” commented Adam Silver.
The Phoenix Suns aren’t the only sports team owned by Robert Sarver. The 60-year-old rich man also owns the basketball Phoenix Mercury of the women’s NBA. At the beginning of 2016, the American bought the Spanish Mallorca for 20 million dollars. The club was then in the second division, but is currently part of the Primera Division.
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