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NBA Asks Law Firm To Probe Phoenix Suns After Report Of Racism, Misogyny

PHOENIX (AP) — The NBA has requested a legislation agency to research the Phoenix Suns after a broadcast report on Thursday detailed allegations that proprietor Robert Sarver has a historical past of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents throughout his 17-year tenure answerable for the franchise.

ESPN mentioned it talked to dozens of current and former team employees for the story, together with some who detailed inappropriate habits by Sarver. Most of the allegations are from nameless sources however a couple of are on the report.

In ESPN’s report, Sarver denied or disputed a lot of the allegations by means of his authorized staff. The Suns additionally strongly denied the report in a prolonged assertion launched Thursday.

“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,” Sarver mentioned.

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Sarver will get his want. The NBA launched its personal assertion from government vp of communications Mike Bass saying the allegations had been “extremely serious” and that the league has requested the Wachtell Lipton legislation agency to “commence a comprehensive investigation.”

“The NBA and WNBA remain committed to providing a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees,” Bass mentioned. “Once the investigation is completed, its findings will provide the basis for any league action.”

Among the allegations: Former Suns coach Earl Watson mentioned the Sarver was upset that Golden State ahead Draymond Green used the N-word throughout a sport in 2016 and that the proprietor repeated the N-word a number of occasions when voicing his displeasure. Watson mentioned he advised Sarver that he can’t use that phrase.

Watson was the Suns’ coach for all or a part of three seasons earlier than being fired three video games into the 2017-18 season.

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Sarver mentioned in his assertion that Watson was “clearly not a credible source.”

“While there is so much that is inaccurate and misleading in this story that I hardly know where to begin, let me be clear: The n-word is not part of my vocabulary,” Sarver mentioned. “I have never called anyone or any group of people the n-word, or referred to anyone or any group of people by that word, either verbally or in writing. I don’t use that word.”

Watson launched his personal assertion by means of the Toronto Raptors, the place he’s now an assistant coach.

“I am not interested in engaging in an ongoing battle of fact,” Watson mentioned. “Instead, I want to applaud the courage of the numerous players, executives, and staffers for fighting toxic environments of racial insensitivity, sexual harassment, and micro-aggressions with their truth.

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“Basketball and 17 years in the NBA has allowed me the financial privilege to speak my truth, but we can’t forget about those who must remain silent for fear of losing their jobs.”

The report additionally particulars a narrative about how Sarver handed round an image of his spouse in a Suns bikini to workers. The report says greater than a dozen workers additionally mentioned Sarver had a historical past of “making lewd comments in all-staff meetings.”

In ESPN’s story, Bass mentioned the NBA had not “received a complaint of misconduct at the Suns organization through any of our processes, including our confidential workplace misconduct hotline or other correspondence.”

Sarver has owned the Suns since 2004. The 59-year-old Phoenix businessman additionally owns the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

The Suns are coming off one of the crucial profitable seasons of their historical past, making the NBA Finals with stars Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton earlier than dropping in six video games to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns have made the Finals 3 times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, however have by no means received a championship.

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