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Trail Blazers President Steps Down Amid Investigation Of Workplace Environment

Mason Bissada
Updated Nov 12, 2021, 04:04pm EST

Topline

Portland Trail Blazers President Chris McGowan is leaving the organization amid a team investigation into President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Neil Olshey, who has reportedly been accused by employees of creating a toxic work environment—an investigation team representatives told Forbes is not related to McGowan’s resignation.

Key Facts

McGowan will be replaced by Executive Vice President Dewayne Hankins, the team said in a statement Friday.

Last week, the team launched an investigation after being notified of “concerns around workplace environment by non-player personnel,” with Yahoo! Sports reporting the investigation centered around Olshey. 

Unnamed league sources told Yahoo! Sports that Olshey created a toxic environment in which employees were subjected to “bullying tactics” such as “intimidation and profanity-laced tirades.”

The organization did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment on the situation.

A representative from the Trail Blazers’ communications department told Forbes that McGowan’s resignation is “not related” to the team’s workplace investigation and “to connect the two would be inaccurate.”

What To Watch For

Yahoo! Sports reported that the investigation, which is being carried out by the firm O’Melveny & Myers, could last “a few weeks.” 

Tangent

The Trail Blazers’ investigation was announced two days after the NBA launched an investigation into Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, who was accused by several current and former team employees of racism and sexism in an ESPN story. Sarver denied the allegations and said he welcomed the investigation.

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