Suns And Mercury Owner Suspended, Fined $10 Million By NBA
By Jason Hall
September 13, 2022
Robert Sarver, the majority owner of the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, has been suspended for one year and fined $10 million by the National Basketball Association for engaging "in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards as reflected in team and League rules and policies," the league announced in a news release shared on Tuesday (September 13).
The NBA citied a November 2021 ESPN.com article that detailed Sarver's statements and conduct alleging racism and misogyny during his tenure as the Suns' owner, which led to an independent investigation by the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz commissioned by the league.
"The report of the independent investigation, which was issued publicly today, was based on information gathered from interviews with 320 individuals, including current and former employees who worked for the teams during Mr. Sarver's 18-year tenure as Managing Partner, Mr. Sarver, and other releveant individuals; and from the evaluation of more than 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos," the news release stated. "Mr. Sarver and the Suns/Mercury organization cooperated fully with the investigative process.
"As stated in the report, the independent investigation found that Mr. Sarver "engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies. This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying."
Sarver will be banned from being around any NBA or WNBA facility -- which includes team offices -- as well as attending any NBA or WNBA event or representing the Suns or Mercury publicly or privately during his yearlong suspension.