Draymond Green calls for NBA owners to vote on Robert Sarver's fate: 'Let's see what those numbers are'

Tue, Sep 20, 2022
NBA News (AP)

Draymond Green calls for NBA owners to vote on Robert Sarver's fate: 'Let's see what those numbers are'

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was recently suspended for one year and fined $10 million for a number of inappropriate acts in his workplace relating to racism and misogyny, but many in the NBA community have made it clear that they are unsatisfied with the verdict. LeBron James tweeted that "there is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place," regardless of whether you work for the team or own it. Suns star Chris Paul added that he is "of the view that the sanctions fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior." Now, Draymond Green is joining his fellow stars in calling out Sarver. In fact, he took things a step further by asking the NBA's owners to vote on Sarver's ouster.'

"It's a little baffling to me that we'll walk into the arena next year," Green said on The Draymond Green Show. "The Phoenix Suns will walk into the arena next year, he'll sit on the sideline and we'll just continue on playing. So the one thing that I am going to need is someone to explain to me why is it that it was OK to get rid of [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."

The sort of vote Green is referring to comes from Article 13 of the NBA constitution. Such a vote allows the league to terminate an owner by a three-fourths vote among the league's other owners. This tactic was used to help remove Sterling in 2014, but it should be noted even termination cannot force the sale of a team. That was only achieved with the help of Sterling's wife, Shelly, and it involved legal maneuvering that isn't necessarily replicable. Donald Sterling was declared mentally incapacitated, which allowed Shelly to cooperate with the league on a sale. Such an approach would seem unlikely to succeed in Sarver's case.

Regardless, it's impossible to ignore the fact that owners treat a termination vote as something of a nuclear option for one obvious reason: precedent. Owners likely don't want to vote out other owners because it could set the stage for them to one day be voted out themselves. Sterling was such an egregious exception that the entire league was able to present a united front against him. It does not appear that the same furor was ever mustered against Sarver.

No matter the outcome, such a vote would present problems to the other owners. If they voted to terminate Sarver, they'd likely be setting themselves up for a lengthy legal battle against him. Discovery in such a lawsuit can be dangerous to other parties. Jon Gruden's racist emails were discovered as part of an investigation into Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder, for example. If the owners voted not to terminate Sarver, they'd risk the ballots being leaked and having to answer to angry fans and sponsors who want Sarver gone. There's a serious risk for the owners on both sides.

It's one of the inherent problems of allowing NBA owners to effectively police themselves. The commissioner works for those owners, yet the players will have to face much more of the fallout of Sarver's actions. They are the ones who face the media every night. They are the ones who will have to watch him on the sideline. Suns players will have to interact with him at team facilities knowing what he's done.

Green seemingly knows all of this, and by asking for a vote, he's making a reasonable request for accountability. If this is the outcome the owners want, they should have to attach their names and reputations to a vote.'

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