The NBA found that Robert Sarver used the n-word more than once while he was an owner of the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury. He will have to give up both teams.
After the NBA’s findings, the 60-year-old said in a long statement on Wednesday morning that he is “starting the process of looking for buyers for the Suns and the Mercury.”
“Words I deeply regret now overshadow nearly 20 years of building organisations that brought people together and strengthened the Phoenix area through the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver said. “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.”
The NBA said Sarver used the racial slur at least five times and made inappropriate comments about women. They also said he didn’t treat his employees fairly or equally.
Sarver broke the rules, so Commissioner Adam Silver fined him $10 million and suspended him for a year. Silver said the punishment was strong enough.
But when fans and many star players, like LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Draymond Green, asked for harsher punishments, Sarver decided it was best to leave his jobs with the NBA and WNBA.
“I don’t want to get in the way of these two teams and the good people who work so hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to fans all over the world,” Sarver said. “I want what’s best for both the NBA and the WNBA, including the players, employees, fans, the community, and my fellow owners. This is the best thing for everyone to do.”
“In the meantime, I’ll keep working on being a better person and helping the community in important ways. Thank you for still cheering for the Suns and the Mercury and believing in the power of sports to bring people together.”