Watson wades in on reports of racism and misogyny against Sarver

Toronto Raptors assistant coach Earl Watson has lent his voice to the allegations of racism and misogyny against Suns owner Robert Sarver during his time as Phoenix’s head coach.

Watson was the Suns' coach for parts of three seasons and was fired three games into the 2017-18 campaign.

In a statement on Thursday, he said that Sarver, who is white, was upset that Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who is Black, used the N-word during a game in 2016 and that the owner repeated the N-word several times when voicing his displeasure.

Watson, who is Black and Hispanic, said he told Sarver he can't use that word.

"I am not interested in engaging in an ongoing battle of fact. Instead, I want to applaud the courage of the numerous players, executives, and staffers for fighting toxic environments of racial insensitivity, sexual harassment, and micro-aggressions with their truth. Basketball and 17 years in the NBA have ahavewed me the financial privilege to speak my truth, but we can’t forget about those who must remain silent for fear of losing their jobs.

While our fortitude assists with progress, there is still more work to be done in the name of equality, and I believe that one of the strengths of our league is its ongoing commitment to justice. This has been a traumatic experience, one that has affected me profoundly, and I am not willing to relive it every day. But I will not forget it, and I will address it more fulsomely at a point in the future when I feel ready."

Recall that the NBA announced on Thursday that it will begin an investigation into Sarver and the Suns.

"The allegations contained in today’s ESPN article are extremely serious, and we have directed the Wachtell Lipton law firm to commence a comprehensive investigation," league executive vice-president Mike Bass said in a statement. "The NBA and WNBA remain committed to providing a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees. Once the investigation is completed, its findings will provide the basis for any league action."

Quoting more than 70 former and current employees, Baxter Holmes's report alleged instances of racism and misogyny in the workplace and one where "employees felt they were [Sarver's] property."

Meanwhile, Suns' Chris Paul and Devin Booker joined the conversation after Thursday's 123-111 win over Houston at Footprint Center.

"I think for us, it's about controlling what we can control, and that's hooping," Paul said via casino games South Africa. "That's basketball. That's what we did today and that's what we're going to continue to do."

When a tweet two weeks ago forecasted a story was coming about Sarver, Booker was in wait-and-see mode about the situation

"I think something has to come out first before we comment on any situation," Booker said after Suns defeated Lakers. "We’ll see."