Sarver to Sell Teams, Blames 'Unforgiving Environment'

He has started process of selling Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2022 1:01 PM CDT
Suspended Suns, Mercury Owner Is Selling Teams
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver gestures to Indiana Pacers' Danny Granger after Granger missed a shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 6, 2010 in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver will soon be known as "former owner." Sarver on Wednesday announced that he was starting the process of selling both teams in the wake of what CNBC calls the NBA's "damning" report on bullying and racist and misogynistic language he used over his nearly two decades at the helm. The AP notes the announcement comes just 8 days after he was suspended for a year and fined $10 million by the league. Forbes puts the value of the Suns at $1.8 billion. Sarver bought the teams 18 years ago for roughly $400 million; the last NBA team to be sold was the Utah Jazz, which went for about $1.7 billion in 2021.

In a statement, Sarver took a swing at "our current unforgiving environment," writing that "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." But in this environment, "it has become painfully clear" that wasn't going to happen, he said. The AP notes players, including Suns guard Chris Paul and Lakers star LeBron James, as well as longtime team sponsors like PayPal, faulted the one-year suspension as inadequate.

Sarver wrote that he was loath to become a distraction to the teams and their associated staffers. "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. This is the best course of action for everyone. In the meantime, I will continue to work on becoming a better person, and continuing to support the community in meaningful ways. Thank you for continuing to root for the Suns and the Mercury, embracing the power that sports has to bring us together." (Read more Robert Sarver stories.)

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