The investigation into Neil Olshey, Portland Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations, for creating a toxic, hostile work environment will now involve interviews with current Trail Blazers players and President/CEO Chris McGowan. While the scope of the inquiry was never publicly defined, it initially centered around less public-facing members of the Blazers staff working on the basketball side of franchise operations under Olshey. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, interviews are now being conducted with higher-profile names in the organization, including the players and McGowan.
Up to this point, the investigation centered on former and current staffers. O’Melveny & Myers — the firm enlisted by the Trail Blazers to investigate — will ask the players about their experiences working with Olshey, sources said.
Haynes says the questioning may have been prompted by the well-known ubiquity of Olshey’s tactics, which included questionable interactions with on-court staff:
[Olshey] allegedly subjected staffers to profanity-laced tirades, including former head coach Terry Stotts while Olshey sat courtside during home games, which routinely caught the attention of players.
Olshey was also known for run-ins with McGowan, including at the introductory press conference when McGowan was hired, when Olshey strongly delineated the boundary between his own position and the new executive’s.
News of the investigation broke on November 5th, a week ago today. Haynes reports that since that time, Olshey has been on site for the Blazers, as normal.
Since the investigation became public late last week, Olshey was at the practice facility every day this week among employees who issued complaints against him, sources said.
Olshey has been Portland’s lead basketball executive since 2012. Prior to that, he served in the same capacity with the Los Angeles Clippers.