Suns minority owner Jahm Najafi calls for Robert Sarver’s resignation

Sep 15, 2022, 6:24 PM
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver attends the NBA game against the Charlotte Hornets at Footprint Ce...
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver attends the NBA game against the Charlotte Hornets at Footprint Center on December 19, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns vice chairman and minority owner Jahm Najafi called for the resignation of majority owner Robert Sarver in an open letter to employees and players on Thursday.

The letter is in response to the report from an investigation done independently of the NBA that resulted in a one-year suspension and $10 million fine for Sarver including that he “clearly violated common workplace standards” via “use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees, sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.”

Najafi, who owns the second-largest stake of the franchise behind Sarver, starts his letter by thanking the employees who shared their experiences in the investigation before stating there is “zero tolerance for discriminatory actions of any level, in any setting, let alone a professional one.” He describes Sarver’s conduct as “lewd, misogynistic and racist” and says it would “warrant immediate termination” in any leadership position.

Najafi calls for the resignation of Sarver and notes that he has no interest in becoming the managing partner but would help ensure the next person to hold the position “treats all stakeholders with dignity, professionalism and respect.”

Najafi is the CEO of Phoenix-based Najafi Companies, a private investment firm. He’s held that position since 2002.

He has been an alternate governor representing the Suns with the National Basketball Association, according to his biography on the Suns’ website, and has served on the boards for the Phoenix Country Day School, Arizona State and the Phoenix Symphony, among others.

Najafi’s letter follows a statement from Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego on Thursday stating she has city staff investigating potential action against Sarver, while Suns point guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James tweeted on Wednesday they did not feel the league’s punishment for Sarver was enough.

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