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Phoenix Suns owner leaves organization amid controversies

By Tariq Snead, Staff Writer

The Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver is facing some trouble, with calls to leave the NBA franchise following a league invention that found many occurrences of inappropriate workplace behavior. 

This includes the use of racial slurs and demeaning/harsh treatment of employees. On Tuesday, Sept. 12, after the NBA published the findings, they suspended Sarver from all activity related to the franchise for one year and fined him $10 million. 

PayPal also announced it would pull out of its sponsorship of the team if Sarver returns after his suspension. This deal was worth $3 million last season, according to ESPN.

NPR interviewed the CEO and President of PayPal, Dan Schulman, who had a couple of words to say about the situation.

“We have reviewed the report of the NBA league’s independent investigation into Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and have found his conduct unacceptable and in conflict with our values,” Schulman said.

ESPN reported that Suns Vice Chairman Jahm Najafi, who owns the second-largest stake in the team, wrote a letter to team employees calling for Sarver to resign. Sarver’s stake in the team would be valued at $630 million, based on estimates. 

Junior finance major Jaiden Roe was devastated to hear about the news. 

“A Similar behavior by any CEO, executive director, president, teacher, coach, or any other position of leadership would call for to be immediately fired,”  Roe said. “The fact that Robert Sarver owns the team does not give him any right to treat others differently. They should be held to the same standard as anyone in that organization no matter what.”

Among the reported findings, people say that Sarver, on at least five occasions during his time with the Suns, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.

He engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees and made many sex-related comments in the workplace. He also engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward female employees on several occasions.

Owner Robert Sarver on Wednesday announced that he has begun the process to sell both the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury franchises.

Junior Suns fan Meko Mayes supports Sarver’s separation from the team.

“I fully support the decision by Sarver to sell the teams,” he said. “This is the right next step for the organization and community.”

The NBA instructed the information after ESPN published a story last year that reported many of the same allegations about Sarver’s behavior.

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