NBA Suspends Phoenix Suns Owner Over Racism, Sexism Findings

The NBA introduced Tuesday it suspended Phoenix Suns proprietor Robert Sarver for a 12 months and fined him $10 million after verifying allegations of racism, sexism and different office violations.

The choice follows an unbiased investigation that discovered Sarver, who additionally owns the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, engaged in conduct that “included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.”

“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned in an announcement.

“On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to all of those impacted by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report,” he continued. “We must do better.”

Phoenix Suns and Mercury proprietor Robert Sarver.

Christian Petersen by way of Getty Photos

Key findings embody Sarver repeating the N-word “when recounting the statements of others” on at the least 5 events, making “inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women” and repeatedly “yelling and cursing” at workers. On a number of events, he “engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees,” the investigation additionally discovered.

Sarver is white, like almost each different NBA proprietor, regardless of the overwhelming majority of gamers being Black and the league having one of many greatest Black fan bases of any U.S. sport.

The NBA’s conclusions about Sarver’s conduct got here after interviewing 320 individuals and reviewing 80,000 paperwork, together with emails, textual content messages and movies.

The allegations that prompted the investigation have been first reported in an ESPN exposé revealed final November.

Sarver’s suspension means he can’t be current at any NBA or WNBA facility, attend or take part in any official actions, symbolize the groups in any public or personal capability, or be concerned in any workforce or league enterprise operations for the subsequent 12 months.

Sarver should spend his suspension interval in a coaching program instructing him on applicable conduct within the office.

The proceeds from his $10 million superb can be donated to organizations “addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace,” the NBA vowed Tuesday.

The NBA can also be compelling the Suns/Mercury group to make some adjustments, together with taking office coverage suggestions from an outdoor agency.