Sarver says he will sell the Phoenix Suns, Mercury after 1-year suspension21 September, 2022
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Robert Sarver, the majority owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns and WBA's Phoenix Mercury said he is selling the teams following a one-year suspension by the league for creating a hostile work environment that included racist and sexist allegations.
Sarver announced he was "beginning the process of seeking buyers" for the Suns and Mercury in a statement released on Wednesday.
"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," Sarver said.
"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."
The NBA on Sept. 13 suspended Sarver and fined him $10 million after conducting an independent investigation into racist and sexist conduct.
The investigation came after an ESPN article last year highlighted workplace abuses. That report, posted in November, included interviews with 70 former and current Suns employees who said Sarver created a "toxic and sometimes hostile workplace" over his 17 years owning the team and included charges of racism and sexism.
The NBA said it interviewed 320 individuals connected with the team and evaluated 80,000 documents that included emails, text messages and videos during its own investigation. The league said it was that information that led to the suspension and fine.
"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.
"As a man of faith, I believe in the atonement and the path to forgiveness. 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."
Sarver said, however, he believed an "unforgiving climate" would not allow him to continue as the owner once his suspension was over.
"In the meantime, I will continue to work on becoming a better person, and continuing to support the community in meaningful ways," Sarver said. "Thank you for continuing to root for the Suns and the Mercury, embracing the power that sports has to bring us together."
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