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Phoenix Suns Suspends and Fines Robert Sarver $10 million after Investigation Finds Clear Workplace Standard Violation

The owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, Robert Sarver, has been suspended for one year and fined $10 million by the NBA resulting from an investigation commissioned after ESPN published a story in November 2021 detailing allegations of racism and misogyny over the course of Sarver's 17 years as owner.

Last Tuesday, The NBA indicated that the investigation found that Sarver used the N-word at least five times "when recounting the statements of others" and that there also were "instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees." The NBA’s statement also indicated that the investigation revealed "sex-related comments" and inappropriate comments concerning employees' appearances. According to ESPN, the investigation included interviews with more than 320 current and former employees, Sarver himself, and included the review of more than 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver commented, "I am hopeful that the NBA community will use this opportunity to reflect on what this great game means to people everywhere and the values of equality, respect and inclusion that it strives to represent. Regardless of position, power or intent, we all need to recognize the corrosive and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and demeaning language and behavior. On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to all of those impacted by the misconduct outlined in the investigators' report. We must do better." The $10 million fine - the maximum permitted by the NBA - will be donated to organizations "addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace.

Earlier this week, Sarver announced his plan to begin the process of selling both franchises saying "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."