Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver announced that he is selling both the NBA team and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
“Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together – and strengthened the Phoenix area – through the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver said in a statement.
“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” Sarver said. “I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love. But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”
Earlier this month, Sarver was suspended one year and fined $10 million by the NBA. The punishment comes as a result of the league’s investigation into the Suns franchise.
In the announcement, the NBA said its investigation found that during his time with the Suns and Mercury, Sarver used the N-word at least five times “when recounting the statements of others” and there also were “instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees.” Sarver is fined $10 million, the maximum permitted by the NBA Constitution & By-Laws. The NBA will donate these funds to organizations that are committed to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace.
“I do not want to be a distraction to these two teams and the fine people who work so hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to fans around the world,” Robert Sarver said in announcing that he is selling the Suns and Mercury. “I want what’s best for these two organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my fellow owners, the NBA and the WNBA. This is the best course of action for everyone.”