As Sarver investigation unfolds, Watson has found safe harbour with Raptors

The Toronto Raptors knew it was coming.

It wasn’t like the leadership group knew the specifics of last week’s explosive ESPN.com story detailing the toxic workplace culture overseen by Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver.

They weren’t briefed on the multiple allegations of racist language and misogynist behaviour in an environment so apparently poisoned that one former human resources staff member said employees were cautioned from bringing forward complaints for fear of reprisal.

But the broad strokes?

They knew about them in part because their newly-hired assistant coach, Earl Watson, told them what was looming before he took the job: That he had gone on the record saying that in one instance when he was the head coach of the Suns, Sarver repeatedly used the N-word in the presence of Watson, who is Black and Hispanic.

Being the primary voice in an article that could possibly end up toppling an NBA owner is not always the kind of thing that another team would embrace in a new hire.

When it comes to candidates for assistant coaches, teams are typically spoiled for choice. But Watson – a 13-year NBA veteran with four years coaching experience including parts of three seasons in Phoenix as head coach – is considered one of the best for his ability to see the game and teach in ways that elite players can use.

“[He’s] somebody that’s played and has been around [great] players and I consider Earl…

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