Robert Sarver announces plans to sell NBA’s Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Mercury amid controversy

One week after the NBA levied a one-year suspension and $10 million high quality towards Robert Sarver, the embattled proprietor introduced plans on Wednesday to sell the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

“I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury,” Sarver stated in a commentary.

The NBA closing week launched a 43-page file in keeping with an unbiased legislation company’s 10-month investigation into allegations of racism, misogyny and different administrative center misconduct towards Sarver. Among essentially the most damning findings from 320 interviews and the overview of greater than 80,000 paperwork was once proof that Sarver “said the N-word at least five times in repeating or purporting to repeat what a Black person said,” regardless of a couple of warnings that “he could never say the N-word, even when quoting someone else.”

The investigation exposed an in depth record of circumstances wherein Sarver was once discovered to harass female and male staff. In one instance, in accordance to the file, he threatened a pregnant worker’s function as a result of her “baby needs their mom, not their father,” after which known as a gathering with a legal professional who advised the girl that Sarver “had done nothing wrong.” On some other instance, he “exposed his genitals to a male employee who was on his knees,” the file stated. The investigation specified by element dozens extra offenses.

In the quick aftermath of his suspension and high quality, Sarver stated closing week in a commentary, “While I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA’s report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees. I take full responsibility for what I have done. I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values.”

“I accept the consequences of the NBA’s decision,” he added, vowing to “learn and grow” in his absence.

Given the amount of accusations and proof, the NBA got here beneath heavy complaint for now not banning Sarver for existence, because it had achieved in gentle of Los Angeles Clippers proprietor Donald Sterling’s racist remarks in 2014.

The National Basketball Players Association was once some of the league’s cruelest critics. In an look on ESPN’s “NBA Today,” NBPA govt director Tamika Tremaglio known as for a life-time ban this previous Friday.

“I am speaking on behalf of our players. … We want to make it very clear that we do not want him back in a position where he will be impacting our players and those who serve our players on a daily basis,” she stated.

Specifically, Los Angeles Lakers celebrity LeBron James tweeted closing week, “There is no place in this league for that kind of behavior. I love the league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right.”

Suns megastar and previous NBPA president Chris Paul, who additionally performed for the Clippers in 2014, stated, “I’m of the view that the sanctions fell quick in in reality addressing what we will be able to all agree was once atrocious conduct.”

In the times after the NBA launched its file, Jahm Najafi, the Suns’ second-largest stakeholder, known as for Sarver’s resignation. Najafi stated in his commentary, “I have no interesting in becoming the managing partner.”

Longtime sponsor PayPal additionally stated closing week it might now not renew its deal with each Phoenix franchises if Sarver returned to his publish after the suspension. The corporate’s contract, which incorporates a patch of its emblem at the Suns’ jerseys for a reported $3 million every year, expires on the finish of this coming season.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver performed a information convention closing week and, just like the investigation, stopped in need of describing Sarver’s conduct as outright racist, sexist or misogynistic. Silver additionally instructed that the rationale Sarver was once now not banned for existence was once as a result of “there are particular rights here of someone who owns an NBA team as opposed to somebody who is an employee.” Specifically, the league calls for a three-fourths vote amongst its staff homeowners to take away a peer. The league didn’t behavior this type of vote.

As a consequence, Sarver’s announcement of his intent to sell the staff got here as a marvel.

“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” he stated in his commentary on Wednesday. “I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love.

“But in our present unforgiving local weather, it has grow to be painfully transparent that this is not conceivable — that no matter just right I’ve achieved, or may nonetheless do, is outweighed through issues I’ve stated previously. For the ones causes, I’m starting the method of in search of patrons for the Suns and Mercury.

“I do not want to be a distraction to these two teams and the fine people who work so hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to fans around the world. I want what’s best for these two organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my fellow owners, the NBA and the WNBA. This is the best course of action for everyone.”

The NBA’s investigation detailed circumstances of Sarver’s misconduct, each verbal and bodily, right through his tenure as proprietor. Evidence ranged from 2004, when he bought the staff and allegedly stated the N-word all over a free-agent recruitment pitch, to as not too long ago as 2021, when ESPN’s Baxter Holmes uncovered the poisonous stipulations and Sarver “made crude references to sex” all over a gathering that angry staff.

Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver announced plans to sell both franchises. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns and Mercury proprietor Robert Sarver introduced plans to sell each franchises. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Ben Rohrbach is a personnel author for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or apply him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach

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