Robert Sarver says he has begun the process of selling the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, a move that comes just eight days after he was suspended by the NBA for workplace misconduct, including racial slurs and hostile behavior toward employees.

Sarver made the announcement Wednesday, saying the sale was “the best course of action” even though he initially hoped he would be able to retain control of the franchises — pointing to his record, which he said paints a dramatically different picture of who he is and what he is.

“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that this is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done or may still do is dwarfed by things I have said in the past,” Sarver wrote in a statement . “For these reasons, I am beginning the process of looking for buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”

Sarver bought the teams in July 2004 for about $400 million. He is not the only owner, but the main one.

Assuming no other teams are sold in the meantime, it would be the first sale in the NBA since a group led by Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith bought the Utah Jazz in 2021 for about $1.7 billion.

It is not known if Sarver has established an asking price. Forbes recently estimated the Suns’ worth at $1.8 billion.

An independent report, which was commissioned by the NBA last November and took about 10 months to complete, found that Sarver “repeated or purported to repeat the N-word at least five times spanning his tenure with the Suns,” though it added, that the investigation “makes no finding that Sarver used this racially insensitive language with the intent to demean or denigrate.”

The investigation also concluded that Sarver used derogatory language toward employees, including telling a pregnant employee that she would not be able to do her job after becoming a mother; makes nasty comments and jokes about sex and anatomy; and yelled and berated employees in ways that would be considered harassment “by workplace standards.”

After that report was completed, NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million, the maximum allowed by league rules.

“Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together — and strengthened the Phoenix area — through the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver wrote. “As a person of faith, I believe in redemption and the path to forgiveness. I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would give me time to focus, mend, and remove my personal conflicts from the teams that I and so many fans love.”

It wasn’t until a week later that Sarver apparently realized that wouldn’t be possible.

His decision comes after a chorus of voices — from players like Suns guard Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, to longtime team sponsors like PayPal and even the National Basketball Association — said the one-year suspension was not enough.

Suns vice president Jahm Najafi called last week for Sarver to resign, saying there should be “zero tolerance” for lewd, misogynistic and racist behavior in any workplace. Najafi, in the same statement, also said he had no plans to become the team’s primary owner.

Suns owner Sarver plans to sell NBA, WNBA teams amid harassment scandal

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