The NBA season is right around the corner, with training camps set to begin later this week. However the talk around d the league is not about players and teams to watch, potential MVP candidates or potential championship contenders but rather the anti-black and misogynistic behaviour of the Phoenix Suns’ owner Robert Sarver and the environment it created within the organization.
Although Baxter Holmes’ hard-hitting expose into Sarver and the cutter he cultivated within the Suns elucidated what was happening in Phoenix to the masses, as with the disgraced former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling, Sarver’s temperament and associated actions were not a secret around the Association.
On September 13 the NBA announced the conclusion of an investigation into the allegations of anti-black racism and mysogny by Sarver, suspending the Suns owner for a year and fining him $10 million. To call this “punishment” was a joke would be a gross understating of the obvious and the league’s actions were not only called out by an anonymous former staffer who said to ESPN:
“It’s barely a slap on the wrist and shows us the league truly doesn’t stand for diversity, equity or inclusion, I’m grateful to have the validation after being told I was insane, a b—- and being dramatic. That definitely lets me breathe a little.
“But I’m angry. The league failed us when they had the opportunity to stand behind its values.”
Another, and current Suns staffer, who also spoke to ESPN for that initial report, said “I am so f—ing mad. So are many others.”
LeBron James and Draymond Green notably weighed in on the matter through a series of tweets
Green said on a recent episode of his podcast, The Draymond Green Show , there needed to be a vote amongst NBA owners, referring to the rule that requires 3/4 of the board of governors to remove an owner.
Wednesday, Sarver announced he has initiated the process to sell both the Suns and the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA. Though he owns a one-third stake in the Suns, he is the primary owner. Even with only that 33% stake, he will get the same platinum parachute that Sterling got. The Clippers were appraised at $575 million but were purchased by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The appraisal and sale amounts are nearly 48 times and 167 times respectively the $12.5 million Sterling paid in 1981. With that return on investment, Sterling laughed all the way to the bank.
The Suns, according to Forbes, are valued at $1.8 billion as of October 2021. This is over 4.5 times the 401 million that was paid for the franchise back in 2004. While Sarver, somewhat, is getting negative press, the pile of cash he will get, in what essentially is “go away” money, proves that he, like Donald Sterling before him, ultimately won.