Robert Sarver says he has started the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, a move that comes only eight days after he wasover workplace misconduct including racist speech and hostile behavior toward employees.
Sarver made the announcement Wednesday, saying selling “is the best course of action.”
“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,” Sarver wrote in a statement. “For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”
Sarver bought the teams in July 2004. He is not the lone owner, but the primary one.
“Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together,” he wrote on Wednesday.
Last week, the NBA has suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 millionfound that he had engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”
The findings of the league’s investigation came nearly a year after the NBA asked a law firm to investigate allegations that Sarver had a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents over his nearly two-decade tenure overseeing the franchise.
The report based its findings on interviews with 320 people, including current and former employees who worked for both teams while Sarver was managing partner, as well as more than 80,000 documents and materials such as emails, text messages and videos, the NBA said.
“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.”