Owner Robert Sarver announced Wednesday that he has begun the process of selling both the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the WNBA. Phoenix Mercury Franchisee.
“As a man of faith, I believe in the path of atonement and forgiveness,” Sarwar said in a statement on Wednesday. “I hoped that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would give me time to focus, make amends, and address my personal squabbles from the teams that I love and so many fans.
“But in our current unforgivable environment, it has become abundantly clear that this is no longer possible – that all the good I have done, or still can do, exceed the things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am starting the process of finding buyers for Sun and Mercury.”
Sarwar was suspended for a year and fined $10 million following an NBA investigation last week that he used the n-word at least five times “while recounting the statements of others”. .
Sarwar was also involved in “instances of disproportionate conduct towards female employees”, including “sex-related comments” and inappropriate comments on staff appearance.
Sarwar wrote in his statement, “Words I deeply regret now oversee nearly two decades of construction organizations that bring people together – and strengthen the Phoenix area – of professional men’s and women’s basketball.” through the unifying power of
In July 2004, Sarwar bought the teams for approximately $400 million. With about a third of the stake, he is not the sole owner, but he is the primary. Forbes recently estimated the value of Sun at $1.8 billion.
The NBA launched an investigation in November 2021 in the wake of an ESPN story detailing allegations of racism and misogyny during Sarwar’s 17 years as owner.
“I am pleased to know that while Robert did not initially have genuine remorse for his actions, it gives me comfort to know that he was able to put the organization and the city ahead of his own needs and desires so that we could begin. A current Sunas employee told ESPN to go ahead without the hurt and pain associated with his leadership.
Another employee who participated in the investigation said: “I’m relieved, I’m happy, I’m empowered and I’m inspired to make sure everyone in that organization is still in power. Has been kept intact, uprooted from the root.”
“I am very proud to be part of a league committed to progress!” James tweeted on Wednesday,
I am very proud to be part of a league committed to progress!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 21, 2022
PayPal, the sans jersey patch sponsor, threatened not to renew its partnership with the team if Sarver remained the owner. And Sun minority owner Jahm Najafi, the team’s second largest stakeholder, called on Sarwar to resign.
“I don’t want to be a distraction to the good guys working hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to these two teams and fans around the world,” Sarwar said in his statement. “I want what is 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 continue to support the community in meaningful ways.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who called for the NBA to remove Sarwar as owner, issued a statement Wednesday, saying Sarwar’s decision to sell the teams was “the first step in the long road toward justice” and that the NBA has There is still some “soul searching” to do.
“The racist old boys club in professional sports is officially closed,” Sharpton said in his statement. “A new era is upon us where it is unbearable to see black players like property. … Now it is imperative that the NBA, both the teams, the corporate sponsor and the new owner, no matter who they are, abide by it. Racism, malice And a commitment to root out hatred.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.