Robert Sarver says he has begun the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, a move that comes just eight days after the NBA suspended him over workplace misconduct, including racist speech and hostile behavior toward employees. comes later.
Sarwar announced on Wednesday that selling is “the best course of action”, although he initially hoped he would be able to take control of the franchise – alluding to his record, he claims. He paints a dramatically different picture of who he is and what he stands for.
Sarwar wrote in a statement, “But in our current unforgivable environment, it has become abundantly clear that this is no longer possible – the things I have done, or still can do, exceed those things.” is what I have said in the past.” “For those reasons, I am beginning the process of finding buyers for Sun and Mercury.”
In July 2004, Sarwar bought the teams for approximately $400 million. He is not the only owner, but the primary one.
Assuming no other teams are sold in the interim, this will be the first sale in the NBA since a group led by Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith bought the Utah Jazz in 2021 for about $1.7 billion.
It is not known whether Sarwar has established an asking price. Forbes recently estimated the value of Sun at $1.8 billion.
An independent report that was commissioned by the NBA last November and took about 10 months to complete found that Sarwar “repeated the n-word on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns or Said to reiterate, however, that the investigation “makes no discovery that Sarwar used this racially insensitive language with the intention of demeaning or defaming.”
The study also concluded that Sarwar used abusive language towards female employees, including telling a pregnant employee that she would not be able to do her job after becoming a mother; off-color comments and jokes about sex and anatomy; And yelled at and cursed at employees in ways that would be considered bullying “under workplace standards.”
Once that report was complete, NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended Sarver for a year and fined him $10 million—the maximum allowed by league rule.
Sarwar wrote, “Words I deeply regret oversee nearly two decades of construction organizations that bring people together – and strengthen the Phoenix area – of the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball.” I through.” “As a man of faith, I believe in the path of atonement and forgiveness. I hoped that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would give me time to focus, make amends, and address my personal disputes from those teams, Which I and a lot of fans love.”
Barely a week later, Sarwar clearly realized that this would not be possible.
His decision comes after voices from players like Suns guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James to longtime team sponsors like PayPal and even the National Basketball Players Association – said that a year suspension was not sufficient.
Sons vice chairman Jahm Najafi called on Sarwar to resign last week, saying there should be “zero tolerance” for lewd, misogynistic and racist conduct in any workplace. In the same statement, Najafi also said that he had no plans to become the team’s primary owner.
“I don’t want to be a distraction to the good guys working hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to these two teams and fans around the world,” Sarwar wrote. “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. It’s the best course of action for everyone.”
Sarwar, through his attorney, argued to the NBA during the investigation process that his record as an owner shows a “longstanding commitment to social and racial justice” and that he has “diversity, equity and Commitment to Inclusion”. Among the examples Sarwar cited was what he described as the league-best rate of 55% employment of minorities within the Sun’s front office and more than half of the team’s coach and general manager during his tenure – current coach Monty. GM James Jones – including Williams and current – are Black.
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