Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver is being hit with a year-long suspension and is being fined a maximum of $10 million following the completion of an investigation into various allegations of workplace misconduct by the 60-year-old NBA boss.
On Tuesday, the NBA announced that after conducting interviews with 320 former and current Suns employees, Sarver, and going through over 80,000 documents, emails text messages, and videos, the league found that the owner of the Suns and the WNBA’s Mercury “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as well as team and league rules and policies.”
The violations by Sarver included using racially insensitive language, unequal treatment of female employees, sex-related statements and conduct, as well as “harsh treatment” of employees that occasionally could be viewed as outright bullying.
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Due to the NBA’s findings, the league announced Sarver would be suspended for one year, he must “complete a training program focused on respect and appropriate conduct in the workplace,” and he has been hit with a $10 million fine. The maximum amount that can be levied. The league will also donate the funds from the fine to organizations that address race and gender-based issues in and out of the workplace.
The ugly findings in the NBA’s investigation of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver
The NBA’s report on Tuesday goes into detail about the specific findings that led to the strong penalty that came down on the Suns’ boss.
The league discovered that on at least five occasions, Sarver used “the N-word” when recalling things said by others. There was a slew of issues when it came to female employees that included comments on the physical appearance of women in the organization, and inequitable conduct toward female employees.
Sarver also reportedly made sex-related comments in the workplace, and “on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees.” Furthermore, during the 18-year period of the investigation, Sarver also was found to have engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of his employees, which of course included “yelling and cursing at them.”
The investigation came following an ESPN expose in November of last year that revealed various allegations about the Suns’ owner’s questionable behavior as the team’s figurehead for nearly two decades.