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US businessman selling NBA franchise Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Mercury

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Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver says he will sell the NBA club following a $10 million fine and one-year ban over racist and misygonist remarks and harsh workplace issues that included bullying./AFP
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Sep 22, 2022 - 12:39 AM

ANKARA (AA) – Robert Sarver said Wednesday that he is selling the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury franchises after an NBA investigation against him for alleged using racial slurs and misogynistic language in the workplace.

“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,” the US businessman said in a statement.

“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness. 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. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury,” the 60-year-old said.

He said he wants the “best” for the Suns and Mercury, their players, employees and fans.

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

The NBA suspended Sarver last week for one year and fined him $10 million after workplace misconduct.

The league previously said the investigation reviewed more than 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos.

A total of 320 individuals were interviewed, including 202 current employees, 100 former employees and 12 of the team’s 15 minority owners during Sarver’s 18-year tenure.

In 2004, Sarver bought the Suns for at least $400 million.

Forbes said the Suns, who reached the 2021 NBA Finals, are valued at $1.8 billion.

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