The NBA today issued the following statement:
Following the publication of a November 4, 2021, ESPN.com article regarding statements and conduct of Robert Sarver, Managing Partner of the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, and issues relating to the teams’ workplace, the NBA commissioned an independent investigation by the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. David Anders and Sarah Eddy, partners at the firm, led the investigation.
The report of the independent investigation, which was issued publicly today, was based on information gathered from interviews with 320 individuals, including current and former employees who worked for the teams during Mr. Sarver’s 18-year tenure as Managing Partner, Mr. Sarver, and other relevant individuals; and from the evaluation of more than 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos. Mr. Sarver and the Suns/Mercury organization cooperated fully with the investigative process.
As stated in the report, the independent investigation found that Mr. Sarver “engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies. This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.”
The NBA today has taken the following actions:
(1) Mr. Sarver is suspended from the Suns/Mercury organization for a period of one year, during which time he will not:
Be present at any NBA or WNBA team facility, including any office, arena, or practice facility.
Attend or participate in any NBA or WNBA event or activity, including games, practices, or business partner activity.
Represent the Suns or Mercury in any public or private capacity.
Have any involvement with the business or basketball operations of the Suns or Mercury.
Have any involvement in the business, governance, or activities of either the NBA or WNBA, including attending or participating in meetings of either league’s Board (and their associated Board committees).
(2) Mr. Sarver must, during his suspension, complete a training program focused on respect and appropriate conduct in the workplace.
(3) Mr. Sarver is fined $10 million, the maximum permitted by the NBA Constitution & By-Laws. The NBA will donate these funds to organizations that are committed to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace.
(4) Additionally, the Suns/Mercury organization must fulfill a series of requirements for workplace improvements set forth and monitored by the NBA.