External pressures after fine and disqualification decided by NBA considered too mild, eventually prompted Robert Sarver to sell the two franchises he owns, the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury. The 60-year-old Suns owner in recent months had been embroiled in a scandal that saw dozens of former employees report incidents of sexism, racism and misogyny in the workplace. An NBA investigation verified these behaviors and punished Sarver with a one-year disqualification and a 10 million fine.
Players such as LeBron James and Chris Paul, as well as the mayor of Phoenix and the team’s sponsor, PayPal, had taken a stand against Sarver in recent days. And in the end the entrepreneur decided that he will put the two teams up for sale, in an epilogue similar to the one Donald Sterling had several years ago. In contrast to that situation, however, Sarver decided to leave less abruptly, stating in a note that he did not want to be a distraction to the two teams and would continue to do his best to become a better person.
Suns/Mercury owner Robert Sarver announces he has begun the process of looking for buyers for the team: pic.twitter.com/KKZQM6rYNk
– Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet) September 21, 2022
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Suns’ appeal, both in terms of the team’s current value and as a destination for future free agents, would be very high.
Adam Silver commented on the news saying. “completely support Sarver’s decision.”, after he had explicitly stated in recent days that he would not force the owner to sell the team. CJ McCollum, president of the NBPA, instead wrote in a note: “We thank Mr. Sarver for making a quick decision in the best interest of our sports community.”.