September 13, 2022 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Phoenix Mercury and Suns owner Robert Sarver suspended after investigation

Alex and Hayden discuss Tuesday's news about Phoenix Mercury and Suns owner Robert Sarver being suspended for one year and fined $10 million after an investigation into comments of racism and misogyny

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. This episode features host Alex Simon and The Next‘s Phoenix Mercury beat reporter Hayden Cilley to discuss Tuesday’s news that Phoenix Mercury and Suns owner Robert Sarver is being suspended for one year and fined $10 million after an investigation into comments of racism and misogyny during his 18 years within the organization.

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Hayden talks about his initial reaction to the ESPN report:

“I hate to say it, but I’m not totally surprised. Like we talked about before, before we went on Live. When you read that initial report by Baxter Holmes, I think it was roughly 7,200 words; it was about a 15-minute read. So much of that information is in there regarding the anonymous sources. It was so specific, not to be true.

I mean, there were instances, for example, when Baxter Holmes put in his article about the employee in 2008. That says she couldn’t continue her role while pregnant because “a baby needs her mom, not her father,” along with remarks about breastfeeding. But you know you don’t say things like that you really don’t.”

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Hayden talks about the WNBA side of things regarding Robert Sarver:

“It’s a shame because the WNBA is one of the most diverse groups of athletes basically in the world. There is a piece that actually I literally just got done typing. Shameless plug real quick. You could check it out on

But the league, according to a 2021 study, it’s about 75% black women, and how, as an owner, how are you not even trying to relate but let alone get along with the players? You know, the players that you want to be there because a lot of us know that Robert Sarver is a very hands-on owner. He likes to have his sort of seal of approval on things like how, with these racist and misogynistic remarks, do you expect to bring in players, I mean, especially given the context of the Phoenix Mercury season.

We don’t know where Skylar Diggins-Smith is going. We don’t know if Diana Taurasi is going to retire. And most importantly, we still don’t know what’s going to happen with Brittney Griner. And, how do you expect a franchise to move forward in a positive direction? When you have an owner at the helm that is notorious for making comments like these.”

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