Disgraced owner Robert Sarver has initiated the process to sell the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, according to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania tweeted the news this morning.
Following an official investigation by the NBA, Sarver was penalized for racists, misogynist, and unfair workplace practices, which included the use of racial slurs, demeaning and inappropriate comments towards female staff members, and inappropriate physical contact with male staff members. The league responded by suspending Sarver for a year, mandating no contact with, or control of, either the Suns or Mercury. They also fined Sarver $10 million.
After the ruling, multiple NBA players and media members termed the penalty too light. These included LeBron James and Chris Paul, plus Sarver’s Suns co-owner Jahm Najafi, who called for Sarver to resign. Among other things, Najafi said:
“I cannot in good judgment sit back and allow our children and future generations of fans to think that this behavior is tolerated because of wealth and privilege. Therefore, in accordance with my commitment to helping eradicate any form of racism, sexism and bias, as Vice Chairman of the Phoenix Suns, I am calling for the resignation of Robert Sarver. While I have no interest in becoming the managing partner, I will work tirelessly to ensure the next team steward treats all stakeholders with dignity, professionalism and respect.”
Per Charania. it appears that Sarver will indeed respond to the pressure and divest his stake in the franchises.