Suspended Robert Sarver Says He's Decided To Sell Suns, Mercury

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Robert Sarver says helium has started the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, a determination that comes lone 8 days aft helium was suspended by the NBA implicit workplace misconduct including racist code and hostile behaviour toward employees.

Sarver made the announcement Wednesday, saying selling “is the champion people of action,” though helium initially hoped that helium would beryllium capable to support power of the franchises — pointing to his grounds that, helium claims, paints a dramatically antithetic representation of who helium is and what helium stands for.

“But successful our existent unforgiving climate, it has go painfully wide that that is nary longer imaginable — that immoderate bully I person done, oregon could inactive do, is outweighed by things I person said successful the past,” Sarver wrote successful a statement. “For those reasons, I americium opening the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”

Sarver bought the teams successful July 2004 for astir $400 million. He is not the lone owner, but the superior one.

Assuming nary different squad is sold successful the interim, it would beryllium the archetypal merchantability successful the NBA since a radical led by Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith bought the Utah Jazz successful 2021 for astir $1.7 billion.

It’s not known if Sarver has established an asking price. Forbes precocious estimated the worth of the Suns astatine $1.8 billion.

An autarkic study that was commissioned by the NBA past November and took astir 10 months to implicit recovered that Sarver “repeated oregon purported to repetition the N-word connected astatine slightest 5 occasions spanning his tenure with the Suns,” though added that the probe “makes nary uncovering that Sarver utilized this racially insensitive connection with the intent to demean oregon denigrate.”

The survey besides concluded that Sarver utilized demeaning connection toward pistillate employees, including telling a large worker that she would not beryllium capable to bash her occupation aft becoming a mother; made off-color comments and jokes astir enactment and anatomy; and yelled and cursed astatine employees successful ways that would beryllium considered bullying “under workplace standards.”

Once that study was completed, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suspended Sarver for 1 twelvemonth and fined him $10 cardinal — the maximum allowed by league rule.

“Words that I profoundly regret present overshadow astir 2 decades of gathering organizations that brought radical unneurotic — and strengthened the Phoenix country — done the unifying powerfulness of nonrecreational men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver wrote. “As a antheral of faith, I judge successful atonement and the way to forgiveness. I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would supply the clip for maine to focus, marque amends and region my idiosyncratic contention from the teams that I and truthful galore fans love.”

Barely a week later, Sarver evidently realized that would not beryllium possible.

His determination comes aft a chorus of voices — from players similar Suns defender Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers prima LeBron James, to longtime team sponsors similar PayPal, and adjacent the National Basketball Players Association — said the one-year suspension wasn’t enough.

Suns vice president Jahm Najafi called past week for Sarver to resign, saying determination should beryllium “zero tolerance” for lewd, misogynistic and racist behaviour successful immoderate workplace. Najafi, successful that aforesaid statement, besides said helium did not person designs connected becoming the team’s superior owner.

“I bash not privation to beryllium a distraction to these 2 teams and the good radical who enactment truthful hard to bring the joyousness and excitement of hoops to fans astir the world,” Sarver wrote. “I privation what’s champion for these 2 organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my chap owners, the NBA and the WNBA. This is the champion people of enactment for everyone.”

Sarver, done his attorney, argued to the NBA during the investigative process that his grounds arsenic an proprietor shows a “longstanding committedness to societal and radical justice” and that it shows he’s had a “commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Among the examples Sarver cited was what helium described arsenic a league-best complaint of 55% employment of minorities wrong the Suns’ beforehand bureau and however much than fractional of the team’s coaches and wide managers successful his tenure — including existent manager Monty Williams and existent GM James Jones — are Black.


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