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Suns owner Robert Sarver fined $10 million for workplace misconduct

James Foglio profile picture
Updated 3 weeks ago on
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Suns owner Robert Sarver fined $10 million for workplace misconduct
USA Today Network
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Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has been suspended one year and fined $10 million for inappropriate workplace conduct. The investigation included interviews with 320 individuals and over 80,000 documents.

The Suns owner will also be required to complete a training program, centered on respect and appropriate conduct in the workplace. For a reminder, $10 million is the maximum amount the NBA can fine.

According to the NBA report, Sarver “on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.”

During his suspension, Sarver is not allowed to visit any NBA or WNBA facility. Therefore, he’s also banned from participating in any team-related event or activity.

Moreover, other key findings were released in the league’s report:

“Mr. Sarver engaged in instances of equitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical contact toward male employees.”

Additionally, the reported stated, “Mr. Sarver engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees, including by yelling and cursing at them.”

Suns owner Robert Sarver suspended one year, fined $10 million

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBA plans to donate Sarver’s $10 million fine to organizations that are committed to addressing race and gender-based issues in the workplace.

Furthermore, while the investigation concluded that Sarver’s misconduct wasn’t motivated by racial or gender-based animus, how will he recover from this report?

In April 2014, after making racist statements, former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was fined $2.5 million by the NBA and banned for life. A month later, the Sterling Family Trust agreed to sell the team to Steve Ballmer.

On Twitter, Suns Legacy Partners, LLC released their official statement shown below.

On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the league’s findings.

“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” said Silver.

“We believe the outcome is the right one, taking into account all the facts, circumstances and context brought to light by the comprehensive investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to upholding proper standards in NBA workplaces.

“I am hopeful that the NBA community will use this opportunity to reflect on what this great game means to people everywhere and the values of equality, respect and inclusion that it strives to represent.”

“Regardless of position, power or intent, we all need to recognize the corrosive and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and demeaning language and behavior,” continued Silver.

“On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to all of those impacted by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report. We must do better.”

Suns owner Robert Sarver has to learn from his mistakes here. Otherwise, the court of public opinion could force the millionaire to sell the Suns and Mercury.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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