The Portland Trail Blazers have launched an investigation into president of basketball operations and general manager Neil Olshey for alleged workplace misconduct, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo. The team has hired an independent firm, O'Melveny and Myers, to lead the investigation and interviews with employees began this past week. The firm is expected to present its findings to Trail Blazers team owner Jody Allen in the near future, and a final decision regarding Olshey's future with the franchise will be made at that point.
On Saturday, the Trail Blazers released the following statement regarding the allegation:
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 and 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.
Allegations against Olshey include creating a toxic and hostile work environment where employees felt bullied and intimidated, per Haynes. The alleged mistreatment reportedly dates back nearly a decade, and has led to mental and physical stress for employees of the team. Additionally, concerns were raised by staff members regarding the handling of the death of video coordinator Zach Cooper in April of 2020. At the time, Olshey released the following statement: "This is a heartbreaking loss for the entire Trail Blazers family. Zach was a positive spirit, a tireless worker and an outstanding teacher. My prayers go out to his family and all who loved him."
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Olshey has been the general manager of the Blazers since June of 2012, and the team has had some solid success during his tenure. Portland has made the postseason eight years in a row, including a trip to the Western Conference finals in 2019. This past offseason, Olshey fired Blazers head coach Terry Stotts and replaced him with Chauncey Billups -- a decision that drew some criticism due to a previous allegation of sexual assault against Billups. The Blazers conducted an investigation into the allegation and found nothing that disqualified him from getting the gig. Prior to his time in Portland, Olshey served as general manager of the Los Angeles Clippers.