Sources: Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey allegedly created toxic workplace with bullying, intimidation
The Portland Trail Blazers opened an investigation into Neil Olshey — the president of basketball operations — with employees alleging a toxic, hostile work environment where staff members have been subjected to intimidation and profanity-laced tirades, among other bullying tactics, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The organization enlisted the services of O’Melveny & Myers to run the independent investigation, and the firm began interviewing employees at the team’s front office off-site this week, with several staffers expressing relief because of the investigation after 10 years of mistreatment leading to mental and physical stress, sources said.
Olshey, 56, was hired by the franchise in 2012. Over his decade as the top basketball decision-maker, multiple employees assert they have had multiple grievances with his treatment of staff in the workplace, sources said.
Furthermore, several staff members raised concerns with the organization’s alleged “mishandling” of the situation when video coordinator Zach Cooper died in April 2020, sources said.
The firm is expected to submit its findings to team owner Jody Allen shortly, and a decision on Olshey’s future will be determined soon after, sources said.
Most staff members are hopeful that the investigation brings change after feeling voiceless and unheard for so long, sources said.
On Saturday morning, the Trail Blazers released a statement.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) November 6, 2021
"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."