NBA: Agency Will Probe Suns After Report Of Racism, Misogyny

PHOENIX (AP) — The NBA has requested a legislation agency to research the Phoenix Suns after a broadcast report on Thursday detailed allegations that proprietor Robert Sarver has a historical past of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents throughout his 17-year tenure answerable for the franchise.

ESPN mentioned it talked to dozens of current and former team employees for the story, together with some who detailed inappropriate conduct by Sarver. A lot of the allegations are from nameless sources however just a few are on the document.

In ESPN’s report, Sarver denied or disputed many of the allegations via his authorized workforce. The Suns additionally strongly denied the report in a prolonged assertion launched Thursday.

“I’d fully welcome an neutral NBA investigation which can show our solely outlet for clearing my title and the popularity of a corporation of which I’m so very proud,” Sarver mentioned.

Sarver will get his want. The NBA launched its personal assertion from government vice chairman of communications Mike Bass saying the allegations had been “extraordinarily critical” and that the league has requested the Wachtell Lipton legislation agency to “begin a complete investigation.”

“The NBA and WNBA stay dedicated to offering a respectful and inclusive office for all staff,” Bass mentioned. “As soon as the investigation is accomplished, its findings will present the premise for any league motion.”

Among the many allegations: Former Suns coach Earl Watson mentioned the Sarver was upset that Golden State ahead Draymond Inexperienced used the N-word throughout a sport in 2016 and that the proprietor repeated the N-word a number of instances when voicing his displeasure. Watson mentioned he advised Sarver that he can’t use that phrase.

Watson was the Suns’ coach for all or a part of three seasons earlier than being fired three video games into the 2017-18 season.

Sarver mentioned in his assertion that Watson was “clearly not a reputable supply.”

“Whereas there may be a lot that’s inaccurate and deceptive on this story that I hardly know the place to start, let me be clear: The n-word is just not a part of my vocabulary,” Sarver mentioned. “I’ve by no means referred to as anybody or any group of individuals the n-word, or referred to anybody or any group of individuals by that phrase, both verbally or in writing. I don’t use that phrase.”

Watson launched his personal assertion via the Toronto Raptors, the place he’s now an assistant coach.

“I’m not fascinated with partaking in an ongoing battle of truth,” Watson mentioned. “As an alternative, I wish to applaud the braveness of the quite a few gamers, executives, and staffers for preventing poisonous environments of racial insensitivity, sexual harassment, and micro-aggressions with their fact.

“Basketball and 17 years within the NBA has allowed me the monetary privilege to talk my fact, however we will’t overlook about those that should stay silent for concern of shedding their jobs.”

The report additionally particulars a narrative about how Sarver handed round an image of his spouse in a Suns bikini to staff. The report says greater than a dozen staff additionally mentioned Sarver had a historical past of “making lewd feedback in all-staff conferences.”

In ESPN’s story, Bass mentioned the NBA had not “acquired a grievance of misconduct on the Suns group via any of our processes, together with our confidential office misconduct hotline or different correspondence.”

Sarver has owned the Suns since 2004. The 59-year-old Phoenix businessman additionally owns the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

The Suns are coming off one of the profitable seasons of their historical past, making the NBA Finals with stars Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton earlier than shedding in six video games to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns have made the Finals 3 times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, however have by no means received a championship. | NBA: Agency Will Probe Suns After Report Of Racism, Misogyny

Aila Slisco

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