Sep 21, 2022 - Sports

Phoenix Suns owner Sarver seeks buyers for teams after harassment report

Robert Sarver at a Suns game against the Clippers in Los Angeles in June 2021.
Robert Sarver at a Suns game against the Clippers in Los Angeles in June 2021. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver said Wednesday he is "beginning the process of seeking buyers" for the teams after being suspended by the NBA for one year for workplace misconduct.

Why it matters: A report from an independent investigation earlier this month found that Sarver "repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others" and engaged in "inequitable conduct toward female employees," substantiating prior allegations.

What they're saying: "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 Wednesday.

  • "For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury," he added.
  • "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 big picture: Lakers star LeBron James criticized the NBA's punishment of Sarver, saying it should've been tougher because there "is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place."

  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended the punishment, saying the "consequences are severe.”
  • The executive director for the National Basketball Players Association — the NBA's labor union — called for a lifetime ban against Sarver in the aftermath of the report.

Go deeper: NBA suspends Suns owner Sarver over workplace misconduct

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