On the latest episode of his podcast, The Draymond Green Show, the titular Golden State Warriors star made a particularly strong statement about Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver. Green’s proclamation: hold a vote and get him out of the league.
After an investigation deemed that Sarver had used the n-word on several occasions and also engaged in other acts of misogyny and workplace abuse, the NBA instead handed down a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine.
Green was far from the only one who thought that those punishments didn’t go far enough, though, with many calling for Sarver’s ouster. And while the league office didn’t go that far, Sarver looks to be removing himself from the situation by selling his team.
Not everyone is ready to brand the 60-year-old a racist, however, and that includes Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who has a lot of history with the Suns owner.
Kerr Had a Different Experience Under Sarver
When ESPN‘s Baxter Holmes broke the story about Sarver’s history of abuse, Kerr — who worked under him as the Suns’ GM from 2007-10 and was a minority owner for many more years — pushed back somewhat on what was being reported.
“I never saw anything that suggested racism or misogyny,” Kerr told ESPN of his experience with Sarver. “And I was very surprised to hear those allegations because that’s not the person that I know.”
In the wake of the league’s investigation, Kerr has been asked for his take on Sarver once again. However, the Warriors coach wasn’t looking to change his personal account.
“I stand by what I said because that was my experience – I wouldn’t make that up,“ Kerr told the Mercury News. “What I witnessed was a guy who was, at times, inappropriate and whose sense of humor was sometimes over the top, but never anything that suggested racism.”
That said, Kerr didn’t attempt to discredit the investigative findings or outright defend Sarver.
“I guess everybody’s relationship with each other is different,” Kerr said. “We all have friendships or relationships that are personal and that we see certain sides of people. So I don’t think that… that doesn’t really factor in for me, you know? That was what I witnessed and that was my comment.”
Commissioner Adam Silver Weighs In on Sarver Deciding to Sell
Sarver revealed that he would be selling the Suns — and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury — in a statement released on Wednesday.
“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness. I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love,” Sarver wrote.
“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued the following response to that declaration:
“I fully support the decision by Robert Sarver to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury. This is the right next step for the organization and community.”