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.
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