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Phoenix Suns owner faces NBA investigation over racist, sexist claims

Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns, is being investigated for allegedly cultivating a hostile work environment with his racially and misogynist comments.

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Credit: Edgar Chaparro

Robert Sarver, the owner of the Phoenix Suns, is being investigated for allegedly cultivating a hostile work environment with his racially and misogynist comments.

During a conference call with reporters on Monday, the league said in a statement that the allegations in the ESPN article are extremely serious, and that Wachtell Lipton will conduct a thorough investigation. NBA and WNBA strive to create a comfortable and welcoming working environment for all employees. When the investigation is completed, the results will serve as the basis for any league actions.

Sarver is alleged to have used racial slurs on several occasions around coaches and players according to ESPN. Former Suns head coach Earl Watson once referred to Draymond Green using this derogatory word while discussing him with former Suns star Earl Watson. Green argued that he was not allowed to use the N-word on the court.

In response to Watson’s comment that he shouldn’t use that term since he was white, Sarver asked, “Why? Darren Green refers to himself as a nigga.

Similarly, he used the term when he explained his decision to hire then-interim head coach Lindsey Hunter over Dan Majerle in 2013 when he was discussing his hire of Lindsey Hunter. One staff member allegedly told Sarver, “These niggas need a nigga.”

The ESPN report has since been denied by Sarver, who called it “inaccurate and misleading.” He has also denied ever using the word “N-word.” He says, “I don’t use that word.” I find it offensive, demeaning, and not in keeping with my beliefs,” the Suns owner said.

The NBA released a statement on Thursday (Nov. 4) welcoming Sarver’s participation in their investigation. As of right now, I would very much welcome an impartial NBA investigation, and that may be the only way we have to clear my name, as well as the reputation of an organization I am so proud of,” he said.

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