Robert Sarver, the owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns franchise – and its sister team the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury – is now planning on selling both teams because Sarver feels that he can no longer run the teams in the wake of the continuing controversy over his sexist and racist comments.
The news comes just a week after the NBA suspended and fined Robert Sarver over racist and sexist remarks that he made in the past. The decision to impose this punishment came after the NBA conducted an extensive investigation of the team and its owner’s activities going back as far as 18 years.
The fine was $10 million, the highest amount allowed under the NBA’s rules. The NBA said that it will donate these funds to organizations that are committed to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace.
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at email@example.com.
The 60-year-old Robert Sarver is a Jewish businessman who made his fortune in real estate.
“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” Robert Sarver wrote in a statement in which he explained his reasons. “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 current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear,” he added, “that that is no longer possible – that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”
So, what was it that Robert Sarver did exactly?
The NBA said that its investigation determined Mr. Sarver, on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.
It also determined that Robert Sarver engaged in inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees.
“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said about Robert Sarver’s suspension. “We believe the outcome is the right one, taking into account all the facts, circumstances and context brought to light by the comprehensive investigation of this 18-year period.”