The independent investigation, which was launched after a ESPN.com article about Sarver’s behavior last Novemberconducted interviews with 320 individuals and reviewed more than 80,000 documents, according to the NBA.
Investigators concluded that Sarver had repeated “the n-word” at least five times “when recounting the statements of others,” confirming last year’s claims by former Suns coach Earl Watson.
The NBA’s investigation of Suns owner Robert Sarver found that he “repeated or claimed to repeat what a black person said” during a free agency recruiting in 2004, a team building exercise in 2012-13, and after a match in 2016 against the warriors.
Details from the report: pic.twitter.com/qnkRW2fmgK
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 13, 2022
The report also stated that Sarver had “made many sex-related comments in the workplace” and “made inappropriate comments about the appearance of female employees and other women.”
Sarver may not attend all NBA and WNBA games and team facilities, nor may he appear at public events on behalf of the WNBA’s Suns or Phoenix Mercury. Also, the 60-year-old real estate developer may not be involved in the business operations of his organization or competition meetings. His $10 million fine is the maximum allowed under NBA rules.
However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stopped issuing Sarver with a life sentence, a sentence he handed out to former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was caught making racist remarks on tape.
In a statement, Silver said the investigation’s findings were “disturbing and disappointing” and that Sarver’s sentence was “appropriate taking into account all the facts, circumstances and context” during his 18-year tenure.
“I am hopeful that the NBA community will take this opportunity to reflect on what this great game means to people around the world and the values of equality, respect and inclusion it seeks to represent,” said Silver. “Regardless of position, power or intention, we must all recognize the caustic and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and degrading language and behavior. On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to all those affected by the misconduct described in the investigative report. We have to do better.”
This is a story in development and will be updated.