Suns owner Sarver announces plans to sell team

Suns owner Sarver announces plans to sell team

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver takes pictures during a game against the Houston Rockets at Footprint Centre in Phoenix February 16, 2022. — Reuters pic

Thursday, 22 Sep 2022 4:43 AM MYT

LOS ANGELES, Sept 22 — Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver on Wednesday said he is seeking buyers for the team a week after being suspended for a year and fined US$10 million (RM43.9 million) by the National Basketball Association (NBA) following an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct.

An independent investigation found that Sarver, who bought the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury in 2004, engaged in inequitable conduct toward female employees, including “sex-related comments” and inappropriate remarks on female employees’ appearances.

Sarver, who cooperated fully with the investigation process, was also found to have used a racial slur on at least five occasions “when recounting the statements of others”.

“Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together — and strengthened the Phoenix area — through the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver said in a statement.

“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness… But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear 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,” he said.

“For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”

He said he did not want to be a distraction to the teams and would focus on becoming a better person while supporting the community in meaningful ways.

“This is the best course of action for everyone,” he said.

The NBA commissioned its investigation following an ESPN report in November 2021 that detailed allegations of racism and misogyny during Sarver’s tenure. Sarver denied the allegations and said he welcomed an investigation.

Sarver purchased the Suns in 2004 for US$401 million. The team was valued at US$1.8 billion at the beginning of last season, according to Forbes. — Reuters