Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Robert Sarwar to sell Sun, Mercury after backlash over workplace misconduct | CBC Sports

Robert Sarver says he has begun the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury, a move that came a week after the NBA suspended it over workplace misconduct that included racist speech and hostility toward employees. behavior was involved.

The decision was immediately applauded—among them, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the National Basketball Players Association, and even Sarwar’s partners who operate the Sun and Mercury in the ownership group.

Sarwar announced on Wednesday that selling is “the best course of action”, though he initially hoped he would be able to take control of the franchise – pointing to his record, claiming he paints a dramatically different picture of who he is. And what does he stand for?

Sarwar wrote in a statement, “But in our current unforgivable environment, it has become abundantly clear that this is no longer possible – the things I have done, or still can do, exceed those things.” is what I have said in the past.” “For those reasons, I am beginning the process of finding buyers for Sun and Mercury.”

Silver said he “completely” supports Sarwar’s decision.

“It’s the right next step for the organization and the community,” Silver said.

Sarwar bought the teams in July 2004 for approximately US$400 million – then a record price for an NBA franchise. He is not the sole lord of Sun and Mercury, but the primary lord. Sons Legacy Partners LLC, the ownership group, said it would continue its work to create a “culture of respect and integrity”.

“As we shared with our employees, we acknowledge the courage of those who came forward in this process to tell their stories and apologize to those hurt,” the partners said.

Assuming no other teams are sold in the interim, this will be the first sale in the NBA since a group led by Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith bought the Utah Jazz in 2021 for about $1.7 billion.

It is not known whether Sarwar has established an asking price. Forbes recently estimated the value of Sun at $1.8 billion. Any new owner must be vetted by the NBA, which is standard procedure.

Racist, Sexist Behavior

An independent report that was commissioned by the NBA last November — following an ESPN report into Sarwar’s workplace conduct — took nearly 10 months to complete. That investigation found that Sarwar had “repeated or alleged to have repeated the N-word on at least five occasions during his tenure with Surya”, although the investigation did not find that Sarwar used this racially Insensitive language was used with the intention of degrading or defaming. ,

The study also concluded that Sarwar used abusive language towards female employees, including telling a pregnant employee that she would not be able to do her job after becoming a mother; making off-color comments and jokes about sex and anatomy; And yelling and cursing at employees in a way that would be considered bullying “under workplace standards.”

Once that report was complete, Silver suspended Sarver for a year and fined him $10 million – the maximum allowed by league rule.

Sarwar wrote, “Words I deeply regret oversee nearly two decades of construction organizations that bring people together – and strengthen the Phoenix area – of the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball.” I through.” “As a person of faith, I believe in the path of atonement and forgiveness. I hoped that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would give me time to focus, make amends, and address my personal disputes from the teams that Me and so many fans love it.”

Barely a week later, Sarwar clearly realized that this would not be possible.

LeBron, Chris Paul among those called for sales

His decision comes after voices from players like Suns guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James to longtime team sponsors like PayPal and even the National Basketball Players Association — said a year The suspension was not enough.

James weighed in again on Wednesday, shortly after Sarwar’s statement became public: “I am very proud to be part of a league committed to progress!” He tweeted.

Retired NBA player Eaton Thomas also added in a tweet: “Sarvar is cashing out so it’s not really a punishment for him, but definitely glad he’s gone.”

NBPA President CJ McCallum said the federation thanked Sarwar for “making swift decisions that were in the best interest of our sporting community.”

Sons vice chairman Jahm Najafi called on Sarwar to resign last week, saying there should be “zero tolerance” for lewd, misogynistic and racist conduct in any workplace. In the same statement, Najafi also said that he had no plans to become the team’s primary owner.

“I don’t want to be a distraction to the good guys working hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to these two teams and fans around the world,” Sarwar wrote. “I want what’s best for these two organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my fellow owners, the NBA and the WNBA. It’s the best course of action for everyone.”

Sarwar, through his attorney, argued to the NBA during the investigation process that his record as an owner shows a “longstanding commitment to social and racial justice” and that his “diversity, equity and inclusion commitment to”. Among the examples Sarwar cited was what he described as the league-best rate of 55 percent employment of minorities within the Sun’s front office and more than half of the team’s coach and general manager during his tenure – current coach Monty Williams and the current GM are James Jones – Black.

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