September 21, 2022
Phoenix Mercury and Suns owner Robert Sarver announces plans to sell teams
Announcement comes eight days after the NBA suspended, fined Sarver for inappropriate behavior
On Wednesday, Phoenix Mercury and Suns owner Robert Sarver announced that he is “beginning the process of seeking buyers” for both teams.
The announcement comes barely a week after the NBA suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million on Sept. 13 following an investigation into the Suns franchise. The investigation concluded that Sarver used the n-word multiple times in the workplace “when recounting the statements of others” in addition to making “sex-related comments” and inappropriate comments about employees’ appearances.
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“I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love,” Sarver said in a statement. “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. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”
Sarver went on to say that he wants what is best for both franchises and leagues and does not want to be a distraction.
Phoenix Mercury guard Diamond DeShields responded to the announcement on Twitter, saying, “Well that’s a start!”
On Tuesday, the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) sent a letter to the NBA and WNBA commissioners responding to the NBA’s actions against Sarver. In the letter, the WNBPA said that the NBA and WNBA “missed the mark” in holding Sarver “meaningfully accountable” for his actions. It also highlighted the fact that the investigation did not include anyone associated with the WNBA.
After Sarver’s initial punishment was announced, several NBA players including Suns guard Chris Paul, LeBron James and Draymond Green called for a harsher punishment. Suns minority owner Jahm Najafi also called for Sarver to resign.