The NBA announced an investigation into Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver following allegations of racism and misogyny from more than 70 former and current employees interviewed by ESPN.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement: “The allegations contained in today’s ESPN article are extremely serious, and we have directed the Wachtell Lipton law firm to commence a comprehensive investigation. The NBA and WNBA remain committed to providing a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees. Once the investigation is completed, its findings will provide the basis for any league action.”
The NBPA also released a statement: “We are continuing to review the allegations in today’s ESPN story. We view these allegations as serious and applaud the League’s decision to conduct an investigation. We will defer any further comments until that process has been concluded.”
Included in the accusations against Sarver was his alleged use of the N-word around coaches and players on multiple occasions. Employees also alleged Sarver’s repeated use of misogynistic language, and was also accused of describing staff and players as “inventory.”
In a statement following ESPN’s publication, Sarver welcomed an investigation and alleged “misrepresentations from former Suns coach Earl Watson and other unnamed sources.” Sarver added: “At this point, I would entirely welcome an impartial NBA investigation, which may prove our only outlet for clearing my name and the reputation of an organization of which I’m so very proud.”
Editorial credit: Sportspics84 / Shutterstock.com