The NBA announced on Tuesday it suspended Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and fined him $10 million after an investigation found he used the N-word at least five times and made ‘sexist’ comments toward female employees.
Sarver will be suspended for one year and must complete a ‘training program’ after a year-long investigation revealed his behavior created a ‘toxic’ work environment.
“As part of the suspension, Sarver is not allowed to be around any NBA or WNBA facility, including offices or practice facilities. He’s also not allowed to be a part of any NBA or WNBA event or activity, or represent the Suns or Mercury in a public or private way.” ESPN reported.
The probe into Sarver’s conduct began after ESPN published a November 2021 article based on dozens of current and former employees alleging he used racial slurs and made misogynistic comments.
Robert Sarver has denied the allegations.
Robert Sarver, the Phoenix Suns’ majority owner since 2004, is being suspended for one year and fined $10 million, the NBA announced Tuesday, marking an end to the league’s nearly yearlong investigation into Sarver’s conduct and the culture inside the Suns organization.
The league’s investigation came after ESPN published a November 2021 story, based on interviews with more than 70 current and former employees, that included allegations of racism and misogyny in a sometimes hostile and toxic workplace in Phoenix during Sarver’s tenure.
Sarver, who also owns the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, also must complete a training program focused on respect and appropriate conduct in the workplace. Sarver and the team previously denied nearly all the allegations and said they welcomed the league’s investigation.
In a release of its findings, the NBA said the investigation found Sarver used the N-word at least five times “when recounting the statements of others.”
There also were “instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees,” the NBA said in its statement, including “sex-related comments” and inappropriate comments on employees’ appearances.
Sarver treated employees in a “demeaning” way, including “yelling and cursing.”
“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in the statement. “We believe the outcome is the right one, taking into account all the facts, circumstances and context brought to light by the comprehensive investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to upholding proper standards in NBA workplaces.
“I am hopeful that the NBA community will use this opportunity to reflect on what this great game means to people everywhere and the values of equality, respect and inclusion that it strives to represent. Regardless of position, power or intent, we all need to recognize the corrosive and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and demeaning language and behavior. On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to all of those impacted by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report. We must do better.”
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