Sarver, owner of the embattled Phoenix Suns, sells NBA club

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, fined $10 million and banned for a year by the NBA for racist and misogynistic comments and workplace problems, said Wednesday he would sell the team.

Following the punishments imposed last week, NBA players union head Tamika Tremaglio called for Sarver to be banned for good and NBA stars LeBron James and Chris Paul declared the penalties were not severe enough.

Lead sponsor PayPal said it would not renew its deal with the team if Sarver was still involved and Suns Vice President Jahm Najafi called for Sarver’s resignation.

“In our current unrelenting climate, it has become painfully clear … any good I have done, or can still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past,” Sarver said in a statement.

“For these reasons, I’m starting the process of finding buyers for the Suns and (Women’s NBA) Mercury.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in imposing the other penalties that he did not think the violations reached the level of forcing Sarver, the Suns’ managing partner, to sell the club, as had been done previously with the former owner. of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, for racism. comments.

But in announcing the sale, Sarver declared, “This is the best course of action for everyone.”

The 10-month investigation looked at issues that spanned nearly 20 years in the Suns’ workplace.

“Words I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together,” Sarver said.

“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness. I had hoped that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would give me time to focus, make amends, and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so much love. fan.”

But he said Sarver’s quick and vehement condemnation by players, sponsors and executives meant that any redress would need to come after he retired from the Suns and Mercury.

“I don’t want to be a distraction,” Sarver said. “I want the best for these two organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my fellow owners, the NBA and the WNBA.

“In the meantime, I will continue to work to become a better person and continue to support the community in meaningful ways.”

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