Robert Sarver will put the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury on sale after strong pushback from around the NBA regarding his fine and one-year suspension.
LeBron James, Chris Paul and Suns vice-chairman Jahm Najafi advocated a bigger penalty after the league's findings on Sarver's racist and misogynistic behavior.
Sarver’s official statement regarding the NBA’s punishment and his decision to sell both teams didn’t sit well with most basketball analysts and fans. Chris Broussard, on “The Odd Couple” podcast, minced no words lambasting the businessman:
“He starts off as a 'man of faith.' I doubt he’s become a man of faith within the last two weeks. ...
“Robert Sarver, you show us your faith by the way you behave, by the way you act. We don't believe you’re a man or woman of faith just 'cause you say so. You have to show some fruit of being a faithful believer, period!
“Where was your faith when you were repeating the N-word all those times? Where was your faith when you were sending pornographic photos and videos to freaking people that worked for you?!
“Where was your faith then when you were talking about all types of inappropriate sexual stuff in staff meetings? Where was your faith then?
“You know people by the fruit of their life, that’s how we know your faith, not 'cause you say it. Don’t give me that!”
Robert Sarver seemed to feel remorseful only after he was caught. After racist and misogynistic accusations first emerged in a report by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, the businessman forcefully revolted against it. He attacked the integrity of the report and the “sources” who were out to smear his name.
The tone drastically changed when the NBA handed out the punishment based on its findings. Sarver’s suddenly docile disposition wasn’t about to hoodwink LeBron James and others who called out the league’s failure to impose bigger punishment.
Holmes, on ESPN, shared what one current Phoenix Suns staffer felt after Robert Sarver’s decision to sell the team went public:
“To be honest, it just felt like justice! Like we can finally heal and know we won’t be working under that type of leadership. I swear there will be tears when the senior executives will be held accountable.”
Robert Sarver has been the majority owner of the Suns since 2004. After nearly two decades of his leadership, it remains to be seen who will take over the franchise.
LeBron James helped open the floodgates that led to Robert Sarver’s decision to sell the Phoenix Suns
LeBron James quickly tweeted his disapproval of what the NBA handed out as punishment for Robert Sarver after the completion of its investigation:
“I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this ain't it.”
Chris Paul and Draymond Green then followed, calling out the NBA for its slap-on-the-wrist punishment despite the seriousness of the offense.
Many were expecting several more superstars to boycott games once the one-year suspension was over.
When PayPal, one of the Phoenix Suns’ major sponsors, backed James’ stance, it felt like Sarver’s time with the franchise was all but over.