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Robert Sarver faces allegations of racism and sexism by Phoenix Suns employees

Over 70 former and current employees of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver have accused him of misogyny, racism, and creating a hostile work environment, ESPN reported Thursday (Nov. 4).

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Over 70 former and current employees of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver have accused him of misogyny, racism, and creating a hostile work environment, ESPN reported Thursday (Nov. 4).

According to Baxter Holmes, the outlet’s senior writer, Sarver’s team alleged that he used racial slurs, made lewd sexual comments and created an environment in which employees felt like they were his property.

One incident that is referenced in the report occurred in 2016, when Sarver allegedly asked former Suns coach Earl Watson whether Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green had any rights to hurl n**** from the field.” Watson reported Sarver repeated the slur repeatedly after telling him, “Get it out of your mouth.”

Sarver also reportedly used the slur in 2013 in explaining why he hired black coach Lindsey Hunter over Dan Majerle, who was then an interim head coach. “These nis need a ni,” he told one of the team’s staff members, ESPN has learned.

An owner of the Suns told the outlet that there was “a staggering amount of racism and misogyny.” He added, “It’s embarrassing.”

“I cannot imagine that any misogynistic or racial information you can share with me about Sarver would surprise me,” said another former Suns executive.

As reported in the report, Sarver once asked one of the Suns’ female employees whether she felt she was “owned” by the team. A number of staff members also allege Sarver engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior during meetings, including mentioning the fact that his wife performed oral sex on him.

Women are possessions to Sarver, who views them as things, telling ESPN, “I don’t think we’re anywhere close to what he thinks men are.”

They said last month that they “urge everyone not to rush to judgement here” and denied any misconduct, specifically racial or gender discrimination. Our organization, its leadership, and its staff are the targets of lies, innuendo and a false narrative based on lies.”

Sarver admitted to his attorneys that he used the N-word many years ago, but denied the allegations in ESPN’s report.

The N-word was used by one player to describe the importance of having each other’s backs. He replied, “N***a would not be the right word to use, but we’re in the foxhole together, ” I said. A short time afterward, one of my assistant coaches approached me and told me that I shouldn’t use that word, even if I was quoting someone else. Ever since then, I’ve apologized and stopped using that word.

Sarver addressed Watson’s comments from 2016, saying, “Let me be crystal clear: I never said that the N-word was a privilege reserved for Black players or Black people. I never even mentioned that.”

As a result, Sarver claims a Suns player received a technical foul for uttering the N-word during the 2016 game in question. As a result of Sarver’s involvement, the league overturned the foul. Green also used the word, so Sarver encouraged the player to appeal the call.

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