While other NBA stars were tweeting about the suspension of Phoenix Suns’ owner Robert Sarver, Steph Curry took his concerns directly to Commissioner Adam Silver. During media day, the Golden State Warriors star told reporters he’d had private conversations with Silver about the inadequacy of the one-year suspension and $10 million fine the NBA gave Sarver.
“There should be a standard around what’s tolerable and what’s not.” said Curry, who added that he understood that the NBA commissioner was limited by “the mechanisms he had to intervene and bring down a punishment that was worthy.”
In the aftermath of the NBA’s investigation of Sarver, which concluded he’d routinely used racial slurs and sexist language, as well as bullying and outright sexually harassing his employees, NBA players spoke out. LeBron James tweeted, “There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this aint it.” And you could tell King James was serious because he didn’t add “Sheesh” or “#StriveForGreatness” or eight exclamation points like his usual tweets. Chris Paul released a statement that he was “horrified and disappointed” by his owner as well.
Curry credited the other stars for speaking out publicly, but he likes to do his communication directly. Just look at how he hounded Andre Iguodala with calls and texts this summer until he finally agreed to come back for a final season. Apparently the NBA commissioner also can’t refuse when the baby-faced assassin calls him, which Curry thinks is only right: “The top players who have vested interests in protecting the league as well, all that stuff matters, and you want to have swift responses and reactions to stuff like that.”
The Suns’ jersey patch sponsor, PayPal, threatened to pull out of their deal if Sarver was around, and a minority owner also called for Sarver’s resignation. But we have to think that Sarver’s decision to sell the team came from both financial pressure, and the power of Draymond Green’s podcast. On his podcast last week, Green condemned Sarver and acknowledged that Adam Silver had given him the maximum punishment, but asked that the NBA owners (aka the Board of Governors) vote on whether to keep Sarver. Before that could happen, Sarver decided - or was strongly encouraged - to find a buyer for his teams.
Curry says he was pleased with the ultimate result. “I think the outcome was exactly what should have happened. Honestly, I thought with the punishment that was handed down, it would have dragged out a little longer, but I’m glad we got to a point where hopefully the team is up for sale sooner than later and can kind of move on knowing that’s where it should be.”
Let that be a lesson. The NBA has no tolerance for sexism and bigotry, as long as the Golden State Warriors are there to hold these wrongdoers accountable.