Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, banned for a year and fined $10 million by the NBA for racist and misogynist remarks and workplace bullying, said Wednesday he will sell the team.
NBA players union executive director Tamika Tremaglio demanded a lifetime suspension for Sarver following the last week’s sanctions; while NBA stars LeBron James and Chris Paul said the fines were too weak.
PayPal, a major sponsor of the team, stated that it would not renew its agreement with them if Sarver remained on the board; and Suns vice chairman Jahm Najafi demanded that Sarver step down.
“In our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear…whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past,” Sarver said in a statement.
“For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and (WNBA) Mercury.”
Meanwhile, the NBA Players’ Association, Sarver’s co-owners, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also welcomed Sarver’s choice.
“I fully support the decision by Robert Sarver to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury,” Silver said in a statement.
“This is the right next step for the organization and community.”
Equally important, Sarver was banned and fined after a 10-month probe into his 18-year tenure at the Suns.
The NBA had commissioned the investigation in the wake of a damning ESPN report on the club’s “toxic” work environment.
Also, investigators found that Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies.”