Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver suspended 1 year for racist, sexist comments

Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver has been suspended one year by the NBA for sexist and racist language after the league launched an investigation following a bombshell report from ESPN last year.

Sarver was also fined $10 million, the maximum allowed by the league, which will be donated to organizations addressing race- and gender-based discrimination in the workplace.

The league handed down its suspension on Thursday after the Nov. 21, 2021, article triggered an investigation that included 320 interviews with current and former Phoenix employees, according to the NBA.

Sarver had owned the Suns and the WNBA’s Mercury since purchasing the team in 2004 from previous owner Jerry Colangelo.

The report details at least fives times Sarver used the N-word “when recounting the statements of others.” The ESPN article detailed a conversation between Sarver, who is white, and then-coach Earl Watson, who is Black, in 2016 which he repeatedly used the N-word while questioning why Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who is Black, could use the term when Sarver could not.

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