Robert Sarver to sell Phoenix Suns and Mercury amid suspension controversy

Phoenix, Arizona - Owner Robert Sarver has announced his intention to sell both the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury after an investigation found him to have engaged in racist and sexist conduct in the workplace.

The Phoenix Suns is in the process of being sold by owner Robert Sarver, who was suspended for one year by the NBA after an investigation found proof of his racist and sexist conduct. He has faced backlash calling for his resignation.
The Phoenix Suns is in the process of being sold by owner Robert Sarver, who was suspended for one year by the NBA after an investigation found proof of his racist and sexist conduct. He has faced backlash calling for his resignation.  © Collage: CHRISTIAN PETERSEN & HARRY HOW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Sarver was suspended for one year and fined $10 million by the NBA last week after an investigation questioned 320 people on allegations of Sarver's behavior over his 18 years spent with the Suns.

The investigation and relatively light punishment prompted widespread criticism of both Sarver and the NBA's response, including the four-time MVP LeBron James saying: "Our league definitely got this wrong."

Sponsors threatened to pull their multi-million dollar support from the franchise if Sarver stayed on with the team.

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In a statement, Sarver declared: "Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together – and strengthened the Phoenix area – through the unifying power of professional men's and women's basketball.

"I expected that the commissioner's one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love.

"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."

Robert Sarver begins process of selling Phoenix Suns and Mercury

Sarver continued his statement.

"For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury. 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.

"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. This is the best course of action for everyone.

"In the meantime, I will continue to work on becoming a better person, and continuing to support the community in meaningful ways," he added."Thank you for continuing to root for the Suns and the Mercury, embracing the power that sports has to bring us together."

Cover photo: Collage: CHRISTIAN PETERSEN & HARRY HOW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

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