Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James welcomed the news that Robert Sarver is putting the NBA's Phoenix Suns and WNBA's Phoenix Mercury up for sale.
Citing "our unforgiving climate," Sarver said Wednesday he's "seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury." The move comes a little more than a week after he was suspended for one year and fined $10 million following an investigation into his behavior and the Suns' and Mercury's workplace culture.
Many thought the 60-year-old got off lightly given the results of the investigation.
Attorneys for Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz oversaw the investigation and found that Sarver used "the N-word at least five times in repeating or purporting to repeat what a Black person said—four of those after being told by both Black and white subordinates that he should not use the word, even in repetition of another." The probe also concluded that Sarver "engaged in inequitable and demeaning conduct toward female employees" and "frequently engaged in demeaning and harsh treatment of employees."
James was among those who criticized the punishment doled out to Sarver, saying, "Our league definitely got this wrong."
Suns star Chris Paul echoed the sentiment, saying he was "horrified and disappointed by what I read."
Tamika Tremaglio, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, called for Sarver to receive a lifetime ban from the league:
Hours before Sarver's announcement, Sportico's Emily Caron reported the Women's National Basketball Players Association had written a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert asking for more to be done about the team governor.
The fallout was threatening to hit the Suns' bottom line as well.
PayPal announced it wouldn't renew its commercial partnership with the organization that included a jersey patch sponsorship if Sarver remained in place.
Sarver still stands to profit handsomely from the sale of the Suns and Mercury.
He led the group that purchased a controlling stake in the Suns and Mercury for $401 million in 2004. Last October, Forbes estimated the Suns alone to be worth $1.8 billion.