Robert Sarver

Robert Sarver

After a lengthy independent investigation, the NBA has suspended Robert Sarver, managing partner of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury for one year.

The NBA released results of the investigation on Tuesday, and its findings included that Sarver:

-On at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.

•Engaged in instances of inequitable 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 conduct toward male employees.

•Engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees, including by yelling and cursing at them.

According to the NBA, “The investigation made no finding that Mr. Sarver’s workplace misconduct was motivated by racial or gender-based animus.”

The investigation found instances of racial insensitivity, mistreatment of female employees, inappropriate commentary related to sex or sexual orientation, and disrespectful communications.

The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. 

“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.  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.”

In addition to his suspension, Sarver has been fined $10 million. This is the maximum permitted by the NBA Constitution; By-Laws. Funds will be donated to organizations

“that are committed to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace,” according to the NBA.

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