NBA’s Adam Silver: Robert Sarver selling Suns is ‘right next step’
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement Wednesday that he fully supports Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver’s decision to find a buyer for the franchises.
“This is the right next step for the organization and community,” Silver added.
National Basketball Players Association president C.J. McCollum, a guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, also released a statement Wednesday.
“We thank Mr. Sarver for making a swift decision that was in the best interest of our sports community,” McCollum said.
The Suns released their own statement as well, echoing Silver’s words.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) September 21, 2022
The commissioner last week suspended Sarver a year and fined him the maximum allowed, $10 million, after a law firm corroborated accounts that Sarver used racist and misogynistic language while fostering a toxic workplace culture.
Silver cited the legal finding that Sarver acted without “animus” in the witness accounts of his behavior, adding that he could have more harshly punished the owner.
“I have access to information that the public doesn’t,” Silver said in his press conference, saying the context of Sarver’s actions and the owner’s positive contributions to the community carried weight in his decision about Sarver’s punishment.
“I’m able to look at the totality of the circumstances around the events in a way we’re not able to completely bring to life the nuance (of the released report),” Silver added. “I think that puts me in a different position as the person who has to render the ultimate judgment.”
But Silver’s comments a day after the NBA suspended Sarver were followed by stars LeBron James and Chris Paul, plus the National Basketball Players Association, asking for Sarver to receive a harsher punishment.
That public pressure carried into the end of the week, when PayPal, one of the Suns’ key sponsors, threatened to not renew with the franchise if Sarver remained in power beyond his suspension.
Sarver announced Wednesday he would seek a buyer.
“I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love,” he said in a released statement.
“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible – that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”