The Trail Blazers have opened an investigation into president of basketball operations and general manager Neil Olshey following allegations of workplace misconduct, per multiple reports.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jason Quick first broke the news of the investigation early Saturday morning, reporting that the team is hiring a firm to run an independent investigation. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes provided additional details, noting in his reporting that multiple employees alleged Olshey created a “hostile work environment.”
Here is everything we know about the allegations against Olshey and the ongoing investigation.
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What are the allegations against Neil Olshey?
Trail Blazers staff members have allegedly been “subjected to intimidation and profanity-laced tirades, among other bullying tactics” under Olshey, according to Haynes. Multiple employees have reportedly taken issue with Olshey’s treatment of staffers.
Several staff members also “raised concerns with the organization’s alleged ‘mishandling'” of the death of video coordinator Zach Cooper, per Haynes. The 32-year-old unexpectedly died in April 2020. The cause of death was not revealed, but Quick noted that it was not related to COVID-19.
“This is a heartbreaking loss for the entire Trail Blazers family,” Olshey said in a statement last year. “Zach was a positive spirit, a tireless worker and an outstanding teacher. My prayers go out to his family and all who loved him.”
Olshey has served as the team’s general manager since 2012 and president of basketball operations since 2015. Before joining the Trail Blazers, Olshey was the vice president of basketball operations for the Clippers.
How did the Trail Blazers respond to the allegations?
Portland has hired O’Melveny & Myers to run the investigation. The firm reportedly began interviewing employees earlier this week.
The Trail Blazers released an official statement on Saturday afternoon:
“The Portland Trail Blazers organization was recently notified of concerns around workplace environment by non-player personnel at the practice facility. In response, we immediately engaged O’Melveny & Myers, an outside firm with significant expertise in this area, to conduct a full, fair and independent review into these concerns and will take appropriate action based on its outcome. While we cannot comment on this pending matter, we are committed to continuing to build an organization that positively impacts our colleagues, communities and the world in which we live and play.”
What are the next steps for the Trail Blazers?
The firm is expected to share the findings of its investigation with Allen soon, per Haynes, and Olshey’s status with the franchise “will be determined soon after.” Staffers are reportedly hopeful that the investigation will prompt organizational changes.
After defeating the Pacers on Friday, the Trail Blazers will next face the Lakers in Portland on Saturday night before starting a four-game road trip.