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After his suspension for racist conduct, Phoenix Suns owner says he's selling the team

Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver, pictured in 2019, was suspended last week by the NBA and fined $10 million after an investigation found that he had engaged in what the league called "workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies." On Wednesday, Sarver announced he plans to sell the teams.
Ross D. Franklin
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AP
Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver, pictured in 2019, was suspended last week by the NBA and fined $10 million after an investigation found that he had engaged in what the league called "workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies." On Wednesday, Sarver announced he plans to sell the teams.

Robert Sarver, majority owner of the NBA's Phoenix Suns and the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury, announced plans Wednesday to find new buyers for the franchises. The move came a week after he received a one-year suspension from the NBA and a $10 million fine for racist and sexist workplace conduct.

In an independent investigation, the NBA concluded Sarver, repeatedly used the N-word when retelling the statements of others, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, commented on the physical appearance of female employees, and engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees.

"Whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past," Sarver, whose 35% stake in the team would be valued at an estimated $630 million, said in a statement on Wednesday. "For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury."

The 60-year-old also blamed the current culture for not being able to stay on with the team after the forced time away.

"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," he wrote.

"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."

Sarver added that he's also choosing to sever his connection to the teams so as not to be a distraction.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
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