Justice in the NFL and NBA


Max Ma and Nghi Doan

In sports, two major social injustices in the workplace have been exposed in the recent two months. The first event took place on October 13, 2021, when The New York Times reported an email between the Washington Football team’s owner, Daniel Synder, the Raider’s football coach, Jon Gruden, and former Washington Football team’s president, Bruce Allen. The emails detailed the three men sending inappropriate pictures of women in the workplace and Gruden having racist remarks towards the NFLPA(National Football League Players Association) executive director, DeMaurice Smith. 

The email leaks started with the investigation of the workplace in the Washington Football Team regarding its policies on women. It was reported that women were told to wear tight dresses and were put under a lot of pressure. Due to this investigation, emails were leaked. Before that, Synder was caught up in another controversy regarding making a lewd video of cheerleaders to hand it out to team executives.

Gruden had submitted his resignation after the email leaks happened. Many are pointing fingers regarding who leaked the email. Some said that the person who leaked those emails was Synder to direct people’s attention away from the dysfunctional workplace in the football team. Some would go as far to say that Synder is doing this to put the blame on Allen and make him responsible for the toxic workplace. On the other hand, Synder’s lawyers claimed that he was innocent of those accusations. Currently, the U.S. government is getting involved to uncover the truth.

Another social injustice event happened in the NBA league. On November 4th, 2021, Robert Sarver, the owner of Phoenix Suns club, has been accused of racism, misogyny, and sexual harrassment in the workplace by a report written by Baxter Holmes on ESPN. 

According to ESPN, more than 70 current and former employees, players, and coaches of the Phoenix Suns recounted how they considered Sarver’s behavior to be inappropriately racist and misogynistic. This includes using the n-word after a game, requiring a coach to fire a minority agent, passing around a picture of his wife in a bikini to employees, and speaking about sex with his wife. 

However, through his legal team, Sarver denied the vast majority of the accusations. A more in-depth investigation conducted by lawyers from the New York-based Wachtell Lipton firm, on the behalf of the NBA, is still ongoing. Currently, a new hashtag called “Sarverout ” has become a new trend on Twitter, presenting a new wave of social justice movement on the internet. 

Head of the school’s Boys Basketball, Kyle Koncz, said the connection and similarity between this event and what happened in the past with Donald Sterling and the Clippers, who had been forced to sell the team by the league. According to Koncz, “If it’s found out that these claims and reports from the article are true, then the league needs to take a stand, to ask him to step down or force him to sell the team. Because if you allow the owner to say those things, use that type of language in the workplace and continue to own a league, it’s a bad message not only to the players and coaches in the league, but the entire country as a whole.”