unable to separate his “personal” controversy from the NBA and WNBA teams.
“Whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in
the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns
and Mercury,” he wrote.
Forbes values the Suns, who appeared lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 NBA
Finals, at $1.8 billion. The Mercury have won four WNBA titles.
Last week, the NBA suspended Sarver for a year after an independent investigation
corroborated details of a November ESPN report that alleged the owner used racist
language, made sex-related comments to and about women, and mistreated
employees. The league also fined him $10 million.
“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent
investigation are troubling and disappointing,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said
last week. “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.”
Silver on Wednesday said he supported Sarver’s decision to sell the franchises. “This
is the right next step for the organization and community,” the commissioner said in
a statement issued by the NBA.
The Sarver controversy is reminiscent of when former Los Angeles Clippers owner
Donald Sterling was fined $2.5 million and banned for life from the NBA after he was
caught making racist comments on recordings. He was forced to sell the team for
$2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer after 33 years of ownership. Sterling
sued the NBA, but the suit was settled in 2016.