Phoenix Suns president Jason Rowley wants to clear up some misconceptions.
With the Suns destined to miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season, fans and media alike have expressed frustration over the team’s direction, with much of the blame being placed at the feet of owner Robert Sarver
But, as he told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday, he believes people are misguided when it comes to his boss.
“One of the things I tell people all the time who have never been exposed to Robert and have never dealt with him directly is that he is not what people think that he is or have the impression that he is,” Rowley said. “My view of him — and I have a lot of loyalty to him because he’s given me the opportunity to do what I’m doing — is that he is a very deliberative, very intelligent, very hard-working individual.
“He carries a lot of burdens on a lot of different businesses and he gives them all his all.”
Rowley said Sarver doesn’t take any days off and is “always churn and burn”. But, he noted, it’s true that Sarver is demanding when it comes to his employees.
“He drives his people hard; he definitely expects a lot of people,” he said. “But more than anything, he gives people the opportunity to make decisions. He listens to his people. He definitely is not someone who is afraid to tell what his opinion is, but in my estimation he is a very good owner.”
Yet, much of the general public doesn’t believe that. Rowley said the way to change perception is by having Sarver interact with fans, but that at the same time some people just won’t change their opinions about the guy.
“To some degree you’re not going to be able to change everyone’s mind,” Rowley said. “They have preconceived notions. There are some that have a view of him and they compare him to prior ownership, and that’s a difficult thing to have to combat.”
Rowley said he understands why people would compare Sarver to Jerry Colangelo, who was very popular during the time he owned the team. However, he said a look at Sarver’s record since he took over would indicate he’s done a better job than people give him credit for.
“Yes, right now we’re not where we want to be from a record standpoint, but if you dig down into where we are and what Lon and Lance have been able to accomplish with Robert’s support to put us in a position to advance and to be a championship-caliber team moving forward, Robert’s got a lot to do with that in terms of giving those guys the flexibility and empowering them to make those decisions.”