- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2022

After the NBA suspended Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and fined him $10 million for workplace misconduct that included sexist and racist comments, some of the league’s biggest stars strongly stated the punishment wasn’t enough. Lakers star LeBron James tweeted the NBA had “got it wrong.” Suns guard Chris Paul wrote the sanctions “fell short.” Golden State’s Draymond Green said Sarver should be voted out by his fellow owners.

That stands in stark contrast to how NFL players have reacted — and continued to react — to Commanders owner Dan Snyder. Snyder and other executives who have worked for the franchise during his tenure have been accused of fostering a toxic workplace in which women were sexually harassed, according to allegations made by victims. Snyder has consistently denied any sexual misconduct on his part, and, unlike Sarver, has not been accused of using racist language.    

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was asked about Snyder on Thursday in advance of his team’s showdown with the Commanders, saying he didn’t know how much the owner’s actions harm the league. 

The question came days after Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said there was “merit” to a high-level discussion among owners about removing Snyder from the NFL because of Washington’s workplace misconduct scandal. Irsay was the first owner to publicly advocate for Snyder’s removal.

Rodgers, though, didn’t take nearly as strong of a stance.

“That’s a tough question,” Rodgers said. “There’s been some interesting articles and, obviously, some headlines that maybe grab your attention … but I don’t know how much it harms the league.  

“(There has) obviously been some incidents that reflect poorly on certain organizations, which isn’t great for the league, but as you guys all know, the league is going to protect itself and I’m sure they’ll make the right decisions.”

Commissioner Roger Goodell said this week the league will wait for investigator Mary Jo White’s probe into Snyder and the Commanders to conclude before making any decisions about the owner’s future in NFL.

The league originally fined Washington $10 million in 2021 and said Snyder would voluntarily give up “day-to-day” operations of the franchise for several months in wake of the team’s misconduct scandal. More than 40 women had said they witnessed or experienced sexual harassment while working for the league. 

The NFL launched another investigation into Snyder this year following new allegations in which a former employee accused him of touching her thigh underneath a dinner table and said he tried to coax her into his limo. Snyder denied the claim, but the probe is now one of at least four investigations into the embattled billionaire — joining Congress and attorney generals in the District and Virginia. 

In the NBA, following backlash from James and others, Sarver announced his intent to sell the Suns and his WNBA franchise, the Phoenix Mercury. An NBA investigation found Sarver used the n-word at least five times “when recounting the statements of others” and had “instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees.” 

A Commanders spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday that there is “no reason” for the Snyder family to sell the franchise and “they won’t.” 

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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