between loading pressure Robert Sarver announced Wednesday that he plans to sell the Phoenix Suns and WNBA Mercury after a year-long ban from NBA players, sponsors and local government officials and his use of racial slurs and misogynistic language.

The 60-year-old real estate developer said in a statement that he doesn’t want to be a “distraction” and wants “what’s best” for his companies.

“As a person of faith, I believe in atonement and forgiveness. I hoped that the commissioner’s one-year ban would give me and many fans time to focus on the teams we love, adjust and get over my personal conflicts. But in our current unforgiving climate, it’s become painfully clear that that’s no longer possible – any good I’ve ever done or can do will outweigh anything I’ve said in the past. For those reasons I have started the process of looking for rulers for Sun and Mercury.

Adam Silver was a ‘good’ commissioner. Why waste defense against bad guys?

NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended Sarver He was sentenced to 1 year and last week was fined a maximum of 10 million dollars following the conclusion of a lengthy ethics investigation that began at his workplace. An ESPN.com article In November. Silver, however, stopped the commissioner’s previous sentence of giving Sarver a lifetime ban Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling In 2014 for his racist comments.

NBA stars such as LeBron James, Chris Paul and Draymond Green, as well as National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio, spoke out against Sarver’s behavior, saying the fine did not go far enough. PayPal said it would not renew the contract. The Suns’ jersey sponsor, which Sarver has owned since 2004, remains with the team after this season. Suns minority owner Jam Najafi and civil rights activists like the Rev. Al Sharpton have called for Sarver’s resignation. They plan to conduct their own investigation.

The 2022-23 season opens next month and team media days are set to begin Sunday. Sarver’s decision to pursue the Suns’ sale was met with relief throughout the league after his strong initial rejection. ESPN.comAccusations and stubbornness. Although Silver apologized after his suspension, Sarver disputed some of the report’s findings and his legal representatives continued to lash out at some of the allegations. There were fears that Sarver would be dug up like Sterling, creating a power struggle and unsustainable day-to-day existence for Sun’s future.

“I fully support Robert Sarver’s decision to sell Phoenix Solar and Mercury,” Silver said in a statement Wednesday. “This is the right next step for the organization and the community.”

Silver was quoted last week He had no power as a commissioner to take Sun from Sarver together. Instead, the NBA’s Board of Governors would need to approve Sarver’s decision with a three-quarters vote, a difficult and time-consuming decision that could trigger a lawsuit from Sarver. The NBA’s decision to publicly publish the investigators’ report exposed Sarver to widespread criticism and outrage. In the past, similar investigative reports have been summarized by the league rather than published in full.

“Proud to be a part of a league committed to growth,” James tweeted Wednesday.

“We thank Mr. Sarver for making the quick decision that is best for our sports community,” NBPA President CJ McCollum said in a statement.

In a 43-page report of workplace misconduct by investigators from the law firm of Wachtel, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Sarver documented a long list of misconduct, including using the N-word on at least five occasions, repeated instances of sexual behavior and numerous other incidents. Sarver exposed himself to the staff.

In the year During a team-building practice in 2012 or 2013, after playing against the Golden State Warriors in October 2016 and telling a story about what it was like to be a family member of the player, according to witnesses, Sarver used the n-word while recruiting a free agent. He said as he boarded the team’s plane. According to two witnesses, Sarver quoted a family member as saying: “Before the white people, [n-words] behind him. Investigators found that Sarver, who is white, continued to use the slur for years despite repeated warnings from colleagues that it was inappropriate to do so.

Sarver’s alleged abuse of female employees included telling one she had to quit her assignment when her daughter “wanted their mom, not their dad,” asking another to get an “improvement” — a term used to refer to a breast augmentation — and telling another. “She’s never seen anything this big,” he said as he prepared to take a shower in the team facilities. In another incident, in 2011, a female employee was insulted during her performance, objected to when she started crying, and then organized lunch for four female employees in an effort to strengthen them.

Investigators attributed some of Sarver’s behavior to his sense of humor and a “lack of refinement,” but documented incidents that frequently crossed the line into harassment. While receiving a “fitness check” from a male employee, Sarver “needlessly dropped his underwear” as the employee knelt in front of him and exposed himself. Sarver danced “hip to hip” with a male employee at a holiday party, pulled down a male employee’s pants in front of co-workers at a 2014 charity event and questioned at least one player on the 2009-10 team about personal dress habits. .

Under the terms of the suspension, Sarver is barred from all NBA and WNBA games and team facilities, cannot represent the Suns or the WNBA’s Mercury at public events, and cannot participate in or participate in the organizations’ business activities. League meetings. Sam Garvin, the Suns’ longtime minority owner, replaced Sarver on an interim basis.

“The racist old boys’ club in professional sports is officially closed,” Sharpton said in a statement. “A new era is upon us in which the treatment of black players as property will not be tolerated. Sarver’s decision today is the first step in bringing justice to the Suns and Mercury – employees, players and fans. Now the NBA, both teams, corporate sponsors and the new owner, no matter what they are And it is important to follow through on his commitment to rooting out hatred.

Throughout his tenure, Sarver has struggled to put winning teams on the court after the Suns’ initial success in 2005 and 2006, reaching the Western Conference finals in 2005 and 2006. Phoenix missed the playoffs for 10 straight seasons from 2011 to 2020 as Sarver cycled through coaches, hired and fired executives and repeatedly struck out in the NBA draft. In a particularly chaotic move, Sarver was fired just three games into the 2017-18 season and fired his full-time replacement, Igor Kokoskov, after one season.

There were many missteps along the way. In the year In 2014, Sarver apologized to Suns fans because the San Antonio Spurs chose to rest several stars during a game in Phoenix. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich fired back saying he should have worn Sarver “Chicken clothes” during the address.. Sun protection in 2017 Eric Bledsoe famously tweeted His later business request is indicative of his boredom at the barbershop, “I don’t want to be here.” Then, in 2019, Sarver He is said to have kept live goats. It was clearly a motivational method in the CEO’s office.

But in recent years, the arrival of coach Monty Williams and Paul brought the Suns back into play and onto the national stage. Phoenix reached the playoffs in 2021 for the first time since 1993, and won a franchise-record 64 games last season after an investigation into Sarver. With a talented roster built around Paul, star guard Devin Booker, forward Mikal Bridges and center Deandre Ayton, the Suns enter the upcoming season as one of the favorites in the West.

The Suns issued a statement on Wednesday acknowledging Sarver’s decision and encouraging employees to “create, maintain and protect an outstanding experience in the classroom.”

“We recognize the courage of those who have come forward in this process to tell their stories and apologize to those affected,” the statement read. “Beginning last November, we are on a journey that includes changes in leadership, staff and accountability measures. While we are proud of our progress and the culture of respect and integrity we are building, we know there is still work and relationships to be built.

Sarver in 2010 He led the team that bought Sun for $400 million in 2004, and recently Forbes estimates It puts the current franchise value at over $1.8 billion. The value of NBA franchises has risen sharply in recent years and a new national media rights deal is in the offing, so the sale price of the Suns could exceed $2 billion. In the year After the Clippers were sold for $2 billion in 2014, the Houston Rockets were sold for $2.2 billion in 2017 and the Brooklyn Nets with Barclays Center Arena for $3.3 billion in 2019. As of 2020, small-market franchises like the Utah Jazz ($1.6 billion) and the Minnesota Timberwolves ($1.5 billion) have generated significant revenue for their longtime owners.

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