We will not see Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns (NBA) and the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA), in the offices or on the edge of the floor for a year! The 60-year-old businessman, who bought the franchise in 2004, was suspended by the NBA on Tuesday after a lengthy investigation following an ESPN article published last November, in which Arizona franchise employees complained about his racist and sexist behavior, among other things. “The independent investigation report, which was made public today, was based on information gathered from interviews with 320 people, including current and former employees who worked for the teams during the 18 years of tenure of Mr. Sarver, and the assessment of over 80,000 documents and other media, including emails, text messages and videos. Mr. Sarver and the Suns/Mercury organization cooperated fully with the investigative process “Begins the NBA, before specifying the alleged facts.
A record fine for Sarver
“The independent investigation found that Mr. Sarver engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as evidenced by team and League rules and policies. This conduct included the use of ‘racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; gendered statements and behavior; and harsh treatment of employees that sometimes amounted to intimidation,’ the league statement continued. The facts are serious and the penalty is heavy: one-year suspension, during which time Robert Sarver cannot be present in any NBA or WNBA team facility (office, hall, training room, etc.) or attend or participate in any NBA or WNBA event or activity. The owner will also be required to complete « a training program focused on respect and proper conduct in the workplace. » In addition, he is sentenced to a fine of 10 million dollars, an amount which will be donated by the NBA to organizations fighting against racism. Recall that to buy the Suns 18 years ago, he had spent $ 401 million.