The NBA’s commissioner shared his response to Sarver’s plan to sell both basketball teams.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement Wednesday in response to Robert Sarver stating his plans to begin the process of selling both the Suns and Mercury.
“I fully support the decision by Robert Sarver to sell the Phoenix Suns and the Mercury,” Silver wrote in a statement. “This is the right next step for the organization and community.”
One week ago, Silver told Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck that he felt he didn’t “have the right to take away” Sarver’s team.
“I don’t want to rest on that legal point because, of course, there could be a process to take away someone’s team in this league it’s very involved and I ultimately made the decision that it didn’t rise to that level,” Silver said.
According to ESPN, Sarver owns roughly 30% of the Suns.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sarver wrote a lengthy statement, sharing that words he “deeply regret[s] now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together.”
“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” Sarver wrote. “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.”
Sarver’s statement on Wednesday comes after the league announced a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine stemming from an investigation into the workplace misconduct of both teams more than a week ago. The investigation found that Sarver used the n-word at least five times “when recounting the statements of others” during his time with both franchises.
Additionally, the 60-year-old consistently acted inappropriately toward employees that include instances of “inequitable conduct toward female employees” and “sex-related comments” according to a statement of the league’s findings. Sarver also reportedly engaged in “inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees.”
However, the NBA’s investigation found that none of Sarver’s behavior was “motivated by racial or gender-based animus.” The initial investigation into Sarver’s workplace misconduct was launched in November 2021 when ESPN reported dozens of accounts from current and former Suns employees. The reports revealed a toxic workplace environment that included racism and misogyny.