Posts Tagged ‘Suspension’

Calgary Stampeders linebacker Cameron Judge was suspended one game Tuesday for violating the CFL’s player code of conduct by punching BC Lions receiver Lucky Whitehead on the field after Saturday’s game.

Whitehead wasn’t at BC’s team facility Monday due to an injury he’s believed to have suffered in the scuffle, according to TSN, which followed a 31-29 overtime Lions win.

The Lions wideout reportedly drew the ire of Calgary players by making comments throughout the game about Judge’s family, according to Danny Austin of the Calgary Sun. It’s unclear if the league will take action against Whitehead for breaching the code of conduct with derogatory remarks.

After the dustup, he accused Judge of sucker-punching him.

Lions players reportedly tried to reach the Stampeders locker room following the game, according to TSN’s Farhan Lalji, and police confirmed there was a verbal confrontation in the parking lot at McMahon Stadium.

“Police were on scene and kept the two sides separate,” Calgary police said in a statement Tuesday, according to TSN. “There was no physical altercation, no criminal allegations were made, and no charges were laid. We are not investigating the altercation.”

Meanwhile, the suspension means Judge will miss the rematch between the Stamps and Lions on Saturday at BC Place. The 27-year-old defender has recorded 64 tackles,one interception, and three sacksin his first season with the Stampeders.

Robert Sarver says he has started the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, a move that comes only eight days after he was suspended by the NBA over workplace misconduct that included racist speech and hostile behavior toward employees.

Sarver made the announcement Wednesday, saying selling “is the best course of action,” although he initially hoped he would be able to keep control of the franchises — pointing to his record that, he claims, paints a dramatically different picture of who he is and what he stands for.

“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,” Sarver wrote in a statement. “For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver agreed with Sarver’s decision.

“I fully support the decision by Robert Sarver to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury,” Silver said. “This is the right next step for the organization and community.”

Sarver bought the teams in July 2004 for about $400 million. He is not the lone owner, but the primary one.

Assuming no other team is sold in the interim, it would be the first sale in the NBA since a group led by Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith bought the Utah Jazz in 2021 for about $1.7 billion.

It’s not known if Sarver has established an asking price. Forbes recently estimated the value of the Suns at $1.8 billion. Any new owners would have to be vetted by the NBA, which is standard procedure.

An independent report that was commissioned by the NBA last November and took about 10 months to complete found Sarver “repeated or purported to repeat the N-word on at least five occasions spanning his tenure with the Suns,” though added that the investigation “makes no finding that Sarver used this racially insensitive language with the intent to demean or denigrate.”

The study also concluded that Sarver used demeaning language toward female employees, including telling a pregnant employee that she would not be able to do her job after becoming a mother; making off-color comments and jokes about sex and anatomy; and yelling and cursing at employees in ways that would be considered bullying “under workplace standards.”

Once that report was completed, Silver suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million — the maximum allowed by league rule.

“Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together — and strengthened the Phoenix area — through the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver wrote. “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.”

Barely a week later, Sarver evidently realized that would not be possible.

His decision comes after a chorus of voices — from players like Suns guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, to longtime team sponsors like PayPal, and even the National Basketball Players Association — said the one-year suspension wasn’t enough.

James weighed in again Wednesday, shortly after Sarver’s statement went public: “I’m so proud to be a part of a league committed to progress!” he tweeted.

Added retired NBA player Etan Thomas, also in a tweet: “Sarver is cashing out, so this is not really a punishment for him, but definitely glad he will be gone.”

Suns vice chairman Jahm Najafi called last week for Sarver to resign, saying there should be “zero tolerance” for lewd, misogynistic, and racist conduct in any workplace. Najafi, in that same statement, also said he did not have designs on becoming the team’s primary owner.

“I do not want to be a distraction to these two teams and the fine people who work so hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to fans around the world,” Sarver wrote. “I want what’s best for these two organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my fellow owners, the NBA, and the WNBA. This is the best course of action for everyone.”

Sarver, through his attorney, argued to the NBA during the investigative process that his record as an owner shows a “longstanding commitment to social and racial justice” and that it shows he’s had a “commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Among the examples Sarver cited was what he described as a league-best rate of 55% employment of minorities within the Suns’ front office and how more than half of the team’s coaches and general managers in his tenure — including current coach Monty Williams and current GM James Jones — are Black.

Phoenix Suns minority owner Jahm Najafi wants Robert Sarver to step down after an investigation found that the latter engaged in “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”

The inquiry confirmed that the Suns and Phoenix Mercury majority owner had used racist and sexually inappropriate language.

“Similar conduct by any CEO, executive director, president, teacher, coach, or any other position of leadership would warrant immediate termination. The fact that Robert Sarver ‘owns’ the team does not give him a license to treat others differently than any other leader,” Najafi said in a statement obtained by Bianca Buono of KPNX NBC 12 News.

“The fact that anyone would find him fit to lead because of this ‘ownership’ position is forgetting that NBA teams belong to the communities they serve. … Therefore, in accordance with my commitment to helping eradicate any form of racism, sexism, and bias, as vice chairman of the Phoenix Suns, I am calling for the resignation of Robert Sarver.”

Najafi said he’s not interested in becoming the franchise’s managing partner but promised to ensure the individual chosen will treat all stakeholders with “dignity, professionalism, and respect.”

In the meantime, NBA commissioner Adam Silver appointed Suns vice chairman and minority owner Sam Garvin as the club’s interim governor, sources told ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe.

Najafi owns the second-largest stake in the Suns and isn’t the only person within the organization criticizing the league’s sanctions against Sarver.

Phoenix guard Chris Paul felt the one-year suspension and $10-million fine levied by the NBA on Sarver “fell short.”

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James added the Association was “wrong” in its punishment of Sarver.

Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul publicly criticized the punishment levied by the NBA on his team’s owner Robert Sarver, deeming that Sarver’s one-year suspension and $10-million fine “fell short” of the necessary discipline.

Paul’s comments follow similar remarks also issued on social media Wednesday by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who said the NBA “definitely got this wrong” by penalizing Sarver too leniently.

An ESPN story published in November alleged multiple incidents of Sarver using racist language, making misogynistic comments, and fostering a toxic workplace culture since purchasing the Suns and the Phoenix Mercury in 2004.

In response to the report, the league asked an outside firm to conduct an investigation into the 60-year-old team owner. The 10-month probe involved interviews with 320 participants – many of them current and former Suns employees.

The inquiry confirmed that Sarver had used racist and sexually inappropriate language, among other instances of workplace misconduct. Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday, however, that he was considering a lengthier suspension for Sarver had the investigating firm not determined that Sarver’s conduct “was not motivated by racial animus.”

“Indefensible is not strong enough,” Silver said of the investigation’s findings.

Neither Silver, Paul, nor James specified exactly what stricter punishment Sarver could or should have faced. In April 2014, Silver banned former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for life after audio recordings were released of Sterling making racist comments.

Silver said Wednesday that the two cases were different as “Mr. Sarver ultimately acknowledged his behavior.”

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was likely spared even stronger sanctioning by the NBA for his racist, misogynistic and hostile words and actions because of one key conclusion by investigators, Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday.

The law firm that spent nearly a year digging into the situation determined Sarver’s use of slurs “was not motivated by racial animus.”

Had that not been the case, Silver indicated, Sarver’s punishment — a one-year suspension and $10 million fine — would have been far more severe.

“It was relevant,” Silver said after the league’s Board of Governors meetings concluded. “I think if they had made findings that, in fact, his conduct was motivated by racial animus, absolutely that would have had an impact on on the ultimate outcome here. But that’s not what they found.”

And that, to Silver, is one of the key distinctions between the Sarver case and the one surrounding then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in 2014, when he was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for racist comments.

Some players, Silver said, have reached out to him to voice concerns. Silver said he would keep the details of those conversations private.

But LeBron James — obviously, one of the league’s most prominent player voices ever — took his concerns public Wednesday night, tweeting that the NBA did not go far enough with Sarver.

“I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong,” James tweeted to his 52 million followers. “I don’t need to explain why. Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of behavior.

“I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. 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,” he wrote.

The NBA had the option of giving Sarver a longer ban than the one-year suspension. The $10 million fine was the maximum allowable, as was the case with Sterling’s $2.5 million fine eight years ago; NBA rules on maximum fines were changed in 2019.

Another reason Silver, who was the ultimate decider of the penalty in this case, stopped short of suspending Sarver for longer or even banning him: He said he took into account a number of anonymous details that could not be revealed in the investigative report that was published Tuesday, along with other elements of Sarver’s actions in his 18 years owning the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

“There were these terrible things,” Silver said. “There are also many, many people with very positive things to say about him through this process. And ultimately, I took all of that into account in making the decision that the one-year suspension plus the fine was appropriate.”

A 10-month investigation into Sarver’s behavior confirmed he had used racist language, made sexually inappropriate comments, left some employees — male and female — feeling uncomfortable with his words and actions, and took part in what would be considered workplace bullying.

“Indefensible is not strong enough,” Silver said.

But the league did not have discussions about removing Sarver as owner during the Board of Governors meetings. Silver permanently banned Sterling after tapes of him making racist comments were leaked to TMZ in a move that started the process of Sterling being forced to sell the franchise.

“This case is very different,” Silver said. “It’s not that one was captured on tape and the other isn’t. … Mr. Sarver ultimately acknowledged his behavior.”

Sarver did, and issued an apology Tuesday, though noted he did not agree with all of the report’s findings.

Silver was asked about how most employees of any company would likely face firings if they were to use racial slurs or partake in lewd actions or comments in the way that the investigation showed that Sarver did.

“It’s hard to make those comparisons to somebody who commits an inappropriate act in the workplace in somewhat of an anonymous fashion versus what is a huge public issue now around this person,” Silver said. “There’s no neat answer here, other than the rights that come with owning an NBA team, how that is set up within our Constitution. What it would take to remove that team from his control is a very involved process, and it’s different than holding a job. It just is. When you actually own a team, it’s just a very different proposition.”

A difference between the Sterling and Sarver cases is this: Sarver cooperated with the league’s investigation and Sterling, in many ways, did not. Sterling wound up suing the NBA for $1 billion in federal court after his lifetime ban was announced, saying his constitutional rights were violated.

The report said Sarver “repeated or purported to repeat the N-word on at least five occasions spanning his tenure with the Suns.”

“However, the investigation does not find that Sarver’s conduct in any of these instances was motivated by racial animus,” the report read, adding that investigators made “no finding that Sarver used this racially insensitive language with the intent to demean or denigrate.”

The Sterling investigation — from when the audio tapes of him making racist remarks to a girlfriend were released, to Silver’s announcement of the lifetime ban — took three days. The Sarver probe took 100 times longer, involved more than 320 interviews and the review of more than 80,000 documents and other materials.

Both investigations were handled by the same New York-based firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz. Attorney David Anders led both probes.

Sarver will be welcomed back in 2023, though Silver made clear that his words and actions going forward will be highly scrutinized.

“I don’t have the right to take away his team,” Silver said. “I don’t want to rest on that legal point because of course there could be a process to take away someone’s team in this league. It’s very involved, and I ultimately made the decision that it didn’t rise to that level. But to me, the consequences are severe here on Mr. Sarver.”

Sarver’s punishment is also similar to others levied in past high-profile examples of wrongdoing, either words, actions or both.

In 1993, then-Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was fined $25,000 and suspended one year for making “racially and ethnically offensive remarks.” And last year, the NFL fined the Washington Commanders $10 million, plus investigative fees, after a probe found the team’s workplace environment for women was, in the words of Commissioner Roger Goodell, “highly unprofessional” — but stopped short of suspending owner Daniel Snyder.

The NBA has suspended Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver for one year, plus fined him $10 million, after an investigation found that he had engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”

The findings of the league’s report, published Tuesday, came nearly a year after the NBA asked a law firm to investigate allegations that Sarver had a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents over his nearly two-decade tenure overseeing the franchise.

Sarver said he will “accept the consequences of the league’s decision” and apologized for “words and actions that offended our employees,” though noted he disagreed with some of the report’s findings.

The report said Sarver “repeated or purported to repeat the N-word on at least five occasions spanning his tenure with the Suns,” though added that the investigation “makes no finding that Sarver used this racially insensitive language with the intent to demean or denigrate.”

The study also concluded that Sarver used demeaning language toward female employees, including telling a pregnant employee that she would not be able to do her job after becoming a mother; made off-color comments and jokes about sex and anatomy; and yelled and cursed at employees in ways that would be considered bullying “under workplace standards.”

The $10 million fine is the maximum allowed by NBA rule.

“I take full responsibility for what I have done,” Sarver said. “I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values. … This moment is an opportunity for me to demonstrate a capacity to learn and grow as we continue to build a working culture where every employee feels comfortable and valued.”

Sarver, the league said, cannot be present at any NBA or WNBA team facility, including any office, arena, or practice facility; attend or participate in any NBA or WNBA event or activity, including games, practices or business partner activity; represent the Suns or Mercury in any public or private capacity; or have any involvement with the business or basketball operations of the Suns or Mercury.

The league said it would donate the $10 million “to organizations that are committed to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace.”

“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “We believe the outcome is the right one, taking into account all the facts, circumstances and context brought to light by the comprehensive investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to upholding proper standards in NBA workplaces.”

It’s the second-largest penalty — in terms of total sanctions — ever levied by the NBA against a team owner, behind Donald Sterling being banned for life by Silver in 2014. Sterling was fined $2.5 million, the largest allowable figure at that time, and was forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the massive fallout that followed him making racist comments in a recorded conversation.

The allegations against Sarver were reported by ESPN last year, which said it talked to dozens of current and former team employees for its story, including some who detailed inappropriate behavior. He originally denied or disputed most of the allegations through his legal team.

On Tuesday, Sarver’s representatives said the investigation’s findings “confirmed that there was no evidence, whatsoever, to support several of the accusations in ESPN’s reporting from November 2021.”

“While it is difficult to identify with precision what motivated Sarver’s workplace behavior described in this report, certain patterns emerged from witness accounts: Sarver often acted aggressively in an apparent effort to provoke a reaction from his targets; Sarver’s sense of humor was sophomoric and inappropriate for the workplace; and Sarver behaved as though workplace norms and policies did not apply to him,” read the report from the New York-based investigating firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

Sarver will have to complete a training program “focused on respect and appropriate conduct in the workplace” during his suspension, the league said.

Sarver, through his attorney, continued denying the allegations as recently as June in a letter to the league and insisted the claims against him were “demonstrably false.”

The attorney, Thomas Clare, wrote that Sarver’s record shows a “longstanding commitment to social and racial justice” and that it attests to his “commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

“Mr. Sarver is one of few NBA owners who continues to support and advance the development of women’s professional basketball,” Clare wrote, citing upgrades to the Mercury team facilities, how the Suns claim a league-best rate of 55% employment of minorities within its front office and how more than half of the Suns’ coaches and general managers in Sarver’s tenure — including current coach Monty Williams and current GM James Jones — are Black.

Among the league’s findings:

— That Sarver engaged in “crude, sexual and vulgar commentary and conduct in the workplace,” including references to sexual acts, condoms and the anatomy, referring to both his own and those of others.

— The investigation also found that Sarver sent a small number of male Suns employees “joking pornographic material and crude emails, including emails containing photos of a nude woman and a video of two people having sex.”

— Sarver, the investigation found, also exposed himself unnecessarily to a male Suns employee during a fitness check, caused another male employee to become uncomfortable by grabbing him and dancing “pelvis to pelvis” at a holiday party, and standing nude in front of a male employee following a shower.

— He also made comments about female employees, the investigation found, including the attractiveness of Suns dancers, and asked a female Suns employee if she had undergone breast augmentation.

The league also will require the Suns and Mercury to engage in a series of workplace improvements, including retaining outside firms that will “focus on fostering a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace.”

Employees of those organizations will be surveyed, anonymously and regularly, to ensure that proper workplace culture is in place. The NBA and WNBA will need to be told immediately of any instances, or even allegations, of significant misconduct by any employees.

All those conditions will be in place for three years.

The league said the results of the investigation were based on interviews with 320 individuals, including current and former employees who worked for the teams during Sarver’s 18 years with the Suns, and from the evaluation of more than 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos.

Sarver and the Suns and Mercury “cooperated fully with the investigative process,” the league said.

“Regardless of position, power or intent, we all need to recognize the corrosive and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and demeaning language and behavior,” Silver said. “On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to all of those impacted by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report. We must do better.”

Eddie Kingston didn’t exactly wake up to sunshine and rainbows on the day he had a physical encounter with Sammy Guevara. It was reported that Kingston was none too pleased with a promo where Guevara poked fun at Kingston’s weight. At the time, their feud was expected to lead to a match at the All Out pay-per-view.

Instead, Kingston was quietly suspended after he approached Guevara and got physical with him. Kingston has since apologized and the two reportedly hashed things out backstage at the August 31 “Dynamite” taping.

Appearing on “Busted Open Radio,” Kingston explained to Mark Henry why certain people can’t poke fun at his physique without him getting heated.

“It doesn’t bother me until people who didn’t draw money say it,” Kingston said. “If you say it, maybe I’ll go, ‘Maybe I need to rethink things.’ If Booker T said it, alright, maybe I gotta hit the gym harder, but if [it’s] someone who hasn’t done anything or someone who’s a holder-on then that bothers me.”

Kingston went on to say that it would be like a third-string quarterback on an NFL team trying to talk down to the starter. When it comes to the Guevara situation, however, Kingston said the former TNT Champion simply got caught in the crossfire.

“I woke up that day in a bad mood,” Kingston admitted. “I woke up, I rubbed the crust out of my eyes, I looked at my phone and I went, ‘Oh no, not you.’ It had nothing to do with him, it could’ve been anybody at that day, but since it was him I was like, ‘No, not you.'”

With The Elite reportedly suspended after their post-All Out backstage brawl with CM Punk, AEW vacated the Trios title they won at Sunday’s PPV. Death Triangle and Best Friends both lost in the tournament that led to the final in Chicago, but they were also already booked for the Sept. 7 Dynamite… so their match was for the title.

It was the kind of match you’d expect from these two teams, and from trios wrestling in general. With the addition of some outside action featuring Danhausen, because you’ve got to give the people what they want…

Orange Cassidy went on a run after standing up for his very nice, very evil pal, but it wasn’t to be his (or Chuck Taylor & Trent Beretta’s) night. PAC & Lucha Bros were too in synch…

That left Taylor alone with Death Triangle. After Rey Fenix & Penta El Zero M did their thing from the top rope, PAC hit Black Arrow, and the All-Atlantic champion and former Tag champs now hold Trios gold.

Shortly after “AEW Dynamite” last week, news broke of an altercation between AEW stars Eddie Kingston and Sammy Guevara, which resulted in Kingston being briefly suspended. Kingston would break his silence earlier today, releasing a statement to several sites acknowledging the incident and admitting wrongdoing.

Later this afternoon, Guevara issued his own statement, giving his side of the story to Fightful, specifically commenting on his promo that Kingston believed went too far. Guevara said that while he had clearly established boundaries when it came to bringing up his personal life during the feud, Kingston hadn’t done the same.

“”Eddie did not mention to me, or the coaches, or [Tony Khan], or anyone in AEW what he didn’t want said,” Guevara claimed. “I cut a promo on Eddie insulting Eddie and the fans as a heel … I see what people say online about Eddie and his appearance (which, anyone who legitimately shames Eddie for how he looks can go to hell, it’s the same people who shame me for being too small).”

“But Eddie did not do the professional thing and communicate to me,” Guevara continued. “If he did, I never would have said it, because the last thing I want to do is hurt someone for real. So after the promo I get to the back and Eddie is flipping out yelling ‘YOU CANT CALL ME FAT’ over and over as I’m trying to walk down the stairs in gorilla, making a big scene … I know this isn’t Eddie’s first time being aggressive and getting out of control backstage. I know he had to do some kind of anger management after this whole thing.”

Though not confirmed, Guevara and Kingston are still expected to go one on one at AEW All Out on September 4.

It emerged that Eddie Kingston recently completed a suspension from All Elite Wrestling, having reportedly taken a swing at feud partner Sammy Guevara after the Jericho Appreciation Society member had made an off-colour comment about his physique.

Kingston and Guevara had originally been booked to wrestle at All Out 2022 on 4 September. Whether or not that match will go ahead is currently unclear, though the storyline continues through Ruby Soho and Ortiz vs. Guevara and Tay Melo on Last Friday’s AEW Rampage.

Eddie has now commented on the situation. Speaking with PWInsider, who reported that Kingston and Sammy had to be separated backstage, the fan favourite said the following:

“You know the truth. I wouldn’t lie. I was wrong for being unprofessional. That is the blind fact. He did what he did and the public can judge that but I know for a fact I was wrong.”

There is currently no word on when Kingston will return to television.