The report, which follows an ESPN report on Sarver’s conduct requested by the NBA last fall, found that the Suns owner “on at least five occasions during his time with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.”
He also “engaged in instances of unfair behavior toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and engaged in physically inappropriate behavior toward male employees on several occasions.”
“I love this league and I respect our leadership very much. But this is not right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism and racism in any workplace. It doesn’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league as an example of our values and that is not that”.
According to the NBA, they interviewed 320 current and former employees who worked for Sarver. The NBA said Sarver and the Suns and Mercury organizations cooperated with the investigation.
Sarver, a majority owner of the Suns and Mercury since 2004, cannot have any involvement with the team during the yearlong suspension and must complete an on-the-job training program. The $10 million fine is the maximum specified by NBA bylaws.
Paul, a 12-time All-Star who has played for the Suns since 2020, also said the NBA’s punishment should be more severe.
“I think the sentences fell short of what we all agree was truly horrific behavior to deal with. My heart goes out to all the people affected.”
In 2014, then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life by the NBA and forced to sell the franchise after he was filmed making racist remarks.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who did not take over his role before Sterling’s allegations came to light, explained why Sarve was not banned for life for his comments.
“If you look at his hiring history, his track record of support for particular employees, what real people said about him — while there were some terrible things — there were also many, many very positive things to say through this process. I took all of that into account.
“There are special rights here, compared to someone who owns an NBA team who is an employee. The equivalent of a $10 million fine and a one-year suspension, I don’t know how to measure that against a job. I don’t have the right to take away his team … but the consequences for me are serious.”