Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has been suspended for a year and fined $10 million following an NBA investigation into allegations of racism and misogyny.
The NBA found that Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violated normal labor standards.”
It found evidence of “racially insensitive language, disparate treatment of female employees, and sexist statements and behavior.”
Sarver’s treatment of employees was also “harassing at times.”
It was inspired by research that interviewed 320 people and analyzed 80,000 documents and videos. An ESPN article in November 2021.
However, while the NBA fined Sarver the maximum possible under its rules, the report stated that it “does not find that Sarver’s conduct was racially or gender motivated.”
Sarver’s sentence is harsher than that imposed on Donald Sterling, then owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. He was banned for life from the NBA in 2014 after being recorded using racist language in a private conversation. The league was later forced to sell the team to new owners.
In a statement reacting to her fine and punishment, Sarver, who owns the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, said: “Good leadership requires accountability.
“For the Sun and Mercury organizations, that starts with me.
“While I disagree with some of the facts in the NBA report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that hurt our employees. I take full responsibility for what I did. I am sorry for causing this pain and these mistakes. In my judgment, they do not align with my personal philosophy or my values.” .
NBA commissioner Adam Silver called his organization’s report “disturbing and disappointing.”
“On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to everyone affected by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report. We must do better.” he said
Sarver has owned the Suns for 18 years. He may not attend an NBA or WNBA team facility or arena during his suspension or engage in any business activities with the teams.