The Phoenix Suns and team owner Robert Sarver released lengthy statements Friday night challenging allegations of racism and gender discrimination made in an ESPN article that has yet to be released.
“I am totally shocked by some of the allegations made by ESPN about me, personally, or about the Phoenix Suns and Mercury organizations,” Sarver said in his statement. “While I cannot begin to know how to respond to some of the vague suggestions made by mostly anonymous voices, I can certainly tell you that some of the statements that I find completely repugnant to my nature and the character of the Suns / Mercury workplace and I can tell you that has never happened.
Earlier on Friday, insider Jordan Schultz reported that the NBA was bracing for a “massive story” accusing Robert Sarver of racism, sexism and sexual harassment.
In addition to statements from the team and Sarver, Gen. James Jones and Chief Executive Officer Jason Rowley also posted comments on Friday.
The NBA has already banned an owner for making racist comments. Adam Silver announced in April 2014 that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling had received a lifetime ban for comments made in a taped conversation. The sale of the franchise to Steve Ballmer was closed in August of the same year for $ 2 billion.
Beyond basketball, former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned earlier this month after emails containing racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments he sent before his hiring in 2018 came to light.
Sarver, who also owns the Phoenix Mercury, bought the Suns in 2004 for $ 410 million. The stream Forbes Rating of the team is $ 1.8 billion.
The Suns have just made the final in 2021, their first since 1993. The team lost their first game on Wednesday to the Denver Nuggets and are playing on the road against the the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night.