LOS ANGELES – Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, fined $ 10 million and banned for a year by the NBA for racist and misogynistic comments and workplace problems, said Wednesday he will sell the team.
Following the punishments imposed last week, NBA players union chief Tamika Tremaglio demanded that Sarver be banned for life, and NBA stars LeBron James and Chris Paul said the penalties were not severe enough.
Lead sponsor PayPal said it will not renew its deal with the team if Sarver is still involved and Suns Vice President Jahm Najafi has called for Sarver’s resignation.
“In our current ruthless climate, it has become painfully clear … everything good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by the things I have said in the past,” Sarver said in a statement.
“For these reasons, I’m starting the process of finding buyers for the Suns and (NBA women’s) Mercury.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in imposing the other sanctions that he did not think the violations had reached the level of forcing Sarver, the managing partner of the Suns, to sell the club as had previously been done with the former Los owner. Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling for racism remarks.
But in announcing the sale, Sarver said, “This is the best course of action for everyone.”
The 10-month survey looked at problems that have lasted for nearly 20 years in Suns’ workplace.
“The words I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that have brought people together,” Sarver said.
“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path of forgiveness. I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide me with time to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans they love “.
But he said Sarver’s swift and vehement condemnation by players, sponsors and managers meant he would need to make amends after he was removed from the Suns and Mercury.
“I don’t want to be a distraction,” Sarver said. “I want the best for these two organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my fellow owners, the NBA and the WNBA.
“In the meantime, I will continue to work to become a better person and continue to support the community in meaningful ways.” – Agence France-Presse