NBA owner banned and fined $10 million in racism scandal
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has been hit with a $10 million fine and suspended for a year after the NBA concluded an investigation into racism and misogyny claims.
The NBA stated that Sarver had "engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards" and found evidence of his use of "racially insensitive language," "unequal treatment of female employees," and "sex-related statements and conduct."
On occasion, Sarver's treatment of club employees "constituted bullying," according to the investigation which interviewed 320 people and analyzed 80,000 documents and videos.
Though the NBA hit Sarver with the maximum fine possible under its current rules, the league's report made no findings that his behavior was "motivated by racial or gender-based animus."
Reacting to his punishment, Sarver, who also owns the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA, said that: "Good leadership requires accountability."
"For the Suns and Mercury organizations, that begins with me," he accepted.
"While I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA's report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees.
"I take full responsibility for what I have done. I am sorry for causing this pain, and these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values," Sarver further stated.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver remarked that the report, triggered by an ESPN piece in November last year, was "troubling and disappointing."
"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," Silver demanded.
As part of the ban, Sarver, who has owned the Suns for 18 years, won't be able to attend any NBA or WNBA facilities or take part in any business activities involving his teams.
While perhaps appearing harsh to some, Sarver's punishment is still less severe than that which was imposed on ex-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in 2014.
After being recorded using racist language during a private conversation, Sterling was banned for life from the NBA which then forced the sale of the franchise to new ownership.