Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver seeks buyers for NBA and WNBA teams after hostile work environment probe

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“I deeply regret the words that have now overshadowed nearly two decades of building organizations that have brought people together — and strengthened the Phoenix area — through the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver, managing partner of both teams, said in a statement.

Sarver hoped the suspension would “give me time to focus, make amends and clear up my personal controversy,” the statement continued.

“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that this is no longer possible — that anything I have done or can do is more than what I have said in the past.” “For this reason, I am beginning the process of finding buyers for Sun and Mercury.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he fully supports the decision.

“This is the right next step for the organization and the community,” the commissioner said.

Details of an investigation formed by the NBA following an ESPN report about Server’s alleged behavior found he “repeated the N-word at least five times during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, counting statements among others.”

Additionally, according to the report, the server “engaged in instances of inappropriate behavior toward female employees, made numerous sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical behavior toward male employees.”

Sarver apologized after the report was published, though he noted that he disagreed with “some of the details.”

Suns Legacy Partners, which manages the NBA and WNBA teams, said the decision to sell is best for the organization and the community.

“We also know that today’s news does not change the work ahead of us to create, maintain and secure a best-in-class experience for our staff, players, fans, partners and community,” the group said in a statement. . “While we are proud of our progress and the culture of respect and integrity we are building, we know there is still work to be done and relationships to rebuild.”

NBA players such as Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, Suns guard Chris Paul and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green criticized the league, saying they felt the sanctions were far less than what should have been imposed.

Server no longer represents the NBA, Green said on his podcast Tuesday, adding the behavior described in the report “goes against everything the NBA stands for.”

“The NBA stands for inclusion. The NBA stands for diversity. The NBA clearly stands against bigotry and racism…This report that came out last week is the complete opposite of everything the NBA stands for,” Green said on “The Draymond” Green Show.”

Suns vice chairman Jahm Najafio called on Sarver to resign, and the team’s jersey sponsor PayPal threatened not to renew their contract with the team if Sarver remained as owner.
After the server announcement was released on Wednesday, James said in a tweet He is “so proud to be a part of a league committed to progress!”

“We thank Mr. Server for making a quick decision that was in the best interest of our sports community,” said National Basketball Players Association President CJ McCollum, who plays for New Orleans.

CNN’s Jacob Lev contributed to this report.

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