Robert Sarver begins the process of selling the Phoenix Suns to the Phoenix Mercury

in the middle Increasing pressure Robert Sarver announced Wednesday that he plans to sell the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Mercury, following a one-year suspension for using racist and misogynistic language against NBA players, sponsors and local government officials.

The 60-year-old real estate developer said in a statement that he does not want to be an “afterthought” and “wants the best” for companies.

“As a man of faith, I believe in the path of atonement and forgiveness. I hoped the commissioner’s one-year suspension would give me time to focus on the teams that I and many other fans love, to make amends and remove my personal controversy,” Sarver said. “But in our current unforgiving environment, it’s become painfully clear that that’s no longer possible — the good I’ve done, or can do, far outweighs the things I’ve said in the past. For those reasons, I’m beginning the process of looking for buyers for Sun and Mercury.

Adam Silver was a ‘good’ commissioner. Why waste protecting the bad guys?

NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended the server a year and last week fined him a maximum of $10 million. An article November. Silver, however, stopped short of handing the server a life ban, a punishment previously handed down by the commissioner. Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling In 2014 for his racist comments.

Top NBA stars LeBron James, Chris Paul and Draymond Green, as well as National Basketball Players Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio, condemned the server’s behavior and suggested Silver’s punishment was insufficient. PayPal said it would not renew its contract If Sarver remains with the team he has owned since 2004, he will be the Suns’ jersey sponsor after this season. Sons minority owner Jam Najafi and Rev. Civil rights activists such as Al Sharpton called for Server’s resignation. Council members issued a statement saying they were appalled by his behavior and planned to conduct their own investigation.

The 2022-23 season is set to open next month and with team media days starting on Sunday, Sarver’s decision to pursue a sale to the Suns was met with relief around the league because of his strong initial denials. ESPN.coms accusations and his reputation for doggedness. Although he apologized after Silver suspended him, Sarver denied some of the report’s findings and his legal representatives continued to question some of the allegations. Some observers feared Sarver would dig in like Sterling, creating a protracted power struggle for the future of the Suns and an untenable day-to-day existence.

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“I fully support Robert Sarver’s decision to sell the Phoenix Suns and Mercury,” Silver said in a statement Wednesday. “It’s the perfect next step for the organization and the community.”

Friday was mentioned last week that he had no authority as a commissioner to unilaterally take Surya from the server. Instead, the NBA’s Board of Governors would have to vote down the server with a three-quarters majority, a difficult and time-consuming proposition and one that could prompt a lawsuit from the server. However, the NBA’s decision to publicly release the investigators’ report left the server open to widespread criticism and outrage. In the past, similar investigative reports have been abridged by the league rather than published in full.

“So proud to be a part of a league committed to progress,” James tweeted Wednesday.

“We thank Mr. Sarver for making a quick decision in the best interest of our sports community,” NBPA President CJ McCollum said in a statement.

Investigators from the Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz law firm documented a long list of workplace misconduct violations in a 43-page report, including the server using the n-word at least five times, repeated examples of sexual behavior and several other incidents. The server revealed himself to the staff.

According to witnesses, Server used the n-word while recruiting a free agent in 2004, during a team-building practice in 2012 or 2013, after an October 2016 game against the Golden State Warriors and while recounting a story about a player’s family member. He said while boarding the team’s flight. According to two witnesses, Sarver quoted family members as saying: “Whites in front, [n-words] Behind.” Despite repeated warnings by colleagues, investigators found the server, who is white, had used profanity for years to say it was inappropriate to do so.

The server’s transgressions against female employees included telling one she had to stop work because her baby “needs his mommy, not daddy” to asking another if she was “enhanced” — a euphemism for breast augmentation. She had “never seen anything so big” as she prepared to take a shower in the team’s facilities. In another incident, he scolded a female employee for her performance in 2011, objected when she started crying, and then hosted a lunch for four female employees, which was seen by attendees as a means of toughening them up.

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Investigators attributed some of Sarver’s behavior to his “sophomoric and inappropriate” sense of humor and his “lack of filter,” but they also documented repeated incidents of harassment. While receiving a “fitness check” from a male employee, the server “unnecessarily dropped her underwear”. The servant knelt before him and revealed himself. The server danced “hip to hip” with a male employee at a holiday party, pulled down a male employee’s pants in front of coworkers during a 2014 charity event and asked at least one player on the 2009-2010 team about his personal grooming habits. .

Under the terms of her suspension, Sarver is barred from attending all NBA and WNBA games and team facilities, she cannot appear at public events on behalf of the Suns or the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, and she cannot engage in the business activities of her companies. or league meetings. Sam Garvin, the Suns’ longtime minority owner, replaced the server on an interim basis.

“The old boys club of racism in professional sports is officially closed,” Sharpton said in a statement. “A new era is upon us where the treatment of black players as property will not be tolerated. Today’s server decision is the first step in a long road toward justice for Sun and Mercury – staff, players and fans alike. It is now imperative that the NBA, both teams, corporate sponsors and the new owner, whoever they are, follow through on the pledge to root out racism, misogyny and hatred.

Throughout his tenure, Sarver was known as a frugal and sometimes combative franchise who struggled to put winning teams on the court after the Suns’ early “seven seconds or less” run to the Western Conference Finals in 2005 and 2006. Phoenix missed the playoffs for 10 seasons from 2011 to 2020 as Sarver cycled through coaches, hired and fired executives and exited the NBA draft multiple times. During one particularly tumultuous stretch, Server fired coach Earl Watson just three games into the 2017-2018 season, then fired his full-time replacement Igor Kokosko after a season.

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There were many mishaps along the way. In 2014, Server apologized to Suns fans after the San Antonio Spurs chose to rest several stars during a game in Phoenix. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich bluntly responded that the server should have been wearing it. “Chicken Dress” during his speech.. In 2017, Sons Card Eric Bledsoe famously tweeted “I don’t want to be here,” he later said in a trade request, suggesting he was bored at a hair salon. Then, in 2019, the server Live goats are said to have been kept It was apparently a motivational tactic in his general manager’s office.

But the arrival of coach Monty Williams and Paul in recent years has brought the Suns back to the playoffs and the national stage. Phoenix reached the finals in 2021 for the first time since 1993, and it won 64 games last season despite an investigation into the server. With a talented roster built around Paul, All-Star guard Devin Booker, forward Michael Bridges and center Deandre Ayton, the Suns enter the upcoming season as one of the favorites in the West.

Sarver led the team that bought the Suns in 2004 for about $400 million. Forbes rating The current value of the franchise is over $1.8 billion. The Suns’ sale price estimate could exceed $2 billion, as NBA franchises have increased in value significantly in recent years and a new national media rights deal is on the horizon. After the Clippers sold for $2 billion in 2014, the Houston Rockets sold for $2.2 billion in 2017 and the Brooklyn Nets for $3.3 billion in 2019. ) and the Minnesota Timberwolves ($1.5 billion) provided lucrative returns for longtime owners.

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