NBA Suns owner banned for one year, fined $10 million for workplace conduct

:Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was suspended for a year and fined $10 million by the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Tuesday following an independent investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct.

The investigation found that Sarver, who bought the WNBA’s Suns and Phoenix Mercury in 2004, engaged in unfair behavior toward female employees, including “sexual comments” and inappropriate remarks about the appearance of female employees.

Sarver, who fully cooperated with the investigation, is said to have been racially insulted at least five times “when he reproduced the statements of others”.

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

“We believe the result is the right one, considering all the facts, circumstances and context brought to light through the comprehensive investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to upholding appropriate standards in the NBA workplace.”

The NBA commissioned its investigation following a November 2021 ESPN article that detailed allegations of racism and misogyny during Sarver’s tenure. Sarver denied the allegations and said he welcomed an investigation.

The Suns did not immediately respond Tuesday when asked for comment.

As a result of his suspension, Sarver cannot be present at an NBA or WNBA team facility, participate in any way in the business or basketball activities of either club, or attend or attend meetings of either league’s board of directors.

During his suspension, Sarver must also complete a training program focused on respect and proper behavior in the workplace.

“Regardless of position, power or intention, we all need to recognize the corrosive and hurtful effects of racially insensitive and degrading language and behavior,” Silver said.

“On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to everyone affected by the misconduct described in the investigator’s report. We have to do better.”

The investigation also confirmed instances of workplace misconduct by Suns employees not directly related to Sarver and the lack of adequate organizational policies and controls.

The investigation found instances of racial insensitivity, abuse of female employees, inappropriate comments related to gender or sexual orientation, and disrespectful communication, among other things.

The investigation also concluded that Sun’s Human Resources department has a history of being ineffective and not a trusted resource for employees exposed to inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

Most of the Suns employees who participated in these misconducts during the 18-year investigation period are no longer employed by the organization.

The research included interviews with 320 current and former employees and Sarvers, and reviewed over 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos.