Suns owner Robert Sarver denies allegations of racism, sexism, harassment

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Robert Sarver, proprietor of the Phoenix Suns, issued a stern denial of accusations that are expected to beryllium made against him successful an upcoming ESPN story.

Jordan Schultz, an NBA podcast host, tweeted Friday that the NBA is preparing for a story that would impeach “Sarver of racism, sexism and intersexual harassment successful a bid of incidents.”

Sarver and the Suns responded to Schultz’s tweet with a flurry of statements.

The 59-year-old Sarver, who has owned the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury since 2004, expressed helium was “wholly shocked” by the allegations expected to beryllium brought by ESPN. He went connected to telephone immoderate of the claims “completely repugnant to my quality and the quality of the Suns/Mercury workplace” and that they “never, ever happened”

“I don’t statesman to cognize however to beryllium that thing DIDN’T happen, and it is hard to erase oregon hide disfigured accusations erstwhile they are made,” Sarver said successful a connection “Even hints of racism oregon sexism successful our civilization contiguous are toxic and damaging and should not beryllium lightly raised. I categorically contradict immoderate and each suggestions that I utilized disparaging connection related to contention oregon gender. I would similar to deliberation that my actions and nationalist grounds regarding race, gender, oregon favoritism of immoderate kind, implicit a beingness successful concern and assemblage service, volition adequately reply immoderate questions anyone mightiness rise astir my committedness to equality and fairness.”

Owner, Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns interviewsRobert SarverGetty Images

Phoenix vigor big John Gambadoro tweeted that much than 50 radical were interviewed for the ESPN story. It was expected to tally astatine the extremity of the regular play and ESPN elder NBA writer Baxter Holmes was involved. It is unclear what different reporters, if any, are besides moving connected the piece.

The accusations could bring disciplinary enactment from the NBA, and if the grounds is beardown enough, could perchance pb to a uncommon juncture successful which the league would forcibly region Sarver arsenic owner.

Jason Rowley, the Suns’ squad president and CEO, stood by Sarver and backed up the organization’s claims successful statement, saying the unpublished ESPN communicative contained “false narratives.”

“This communicative is wholly outrageous and false,” Rowley said. “It doesn’t correspond — astatine each — the Robert Sarver I’ve worked alongside of for 15 years. He’s not a racist and he’s not a sexist. I volition besides accidental that newsman successful this lawsuit has shown a reckless disregard for the truth. He has harassed employees, erstwhile employees, and household members; utilized truths, half-truths and rumors to manufacture a communicative successful which he’s heavy invested and past perpetuate a wholly mendacious communicative wrong the sports manufacture to backmost it up.”

Suns wide manager James Jones, who is black, added that “none of what’s being said describes the Robert Sarver I know, respect and like.”

In different statement, the enactment stated that it has documentary grounds and eyewitness accounts that volition “directly contradict” ESPN’s accusations. The Suns are already preparing responses to the reporter’s question and inquire radical nary to “rush to judgement.”

“We recognize that an outlet is considering publishing a projected communicative that makes wholly baseless claims against the Suns enactment concerning a assortment of topics,” the squad wrote successful a statement. “Documentary grounds successful our possession and eyewitness accounts straight contradict the reporter’s accusations, and we are preparing our effect to his questions. We impulse everyone not to unreserved to judgement here. Especially based connected lies, innuendo, and a mendacious communicative to onslaught our enactment and its leadership.”

Sarver, who bought the Suns for a then-record $401 million, made his wealth successful existent property arsenic the enforcement manager of Southwest Value Partners.