Monty Williams, Suns Players Had 'Private Conversations' About Sarver Allegations

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 25, 2021

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 4: Head Coach, Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks to his player during the game against the Houston Rockets on November 4, 2021 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)
Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams kept his door open for his players after allegations of racism and misogyny against Suns governor Robert Sarver became public.

Per Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Williams said:

"They know the door was open for them to come talk to me about anything if they needed to, and we did — there were private conversations. We've said wins and losses and nothing will affect our culture. That's how we approach it. That doesn't mean we aren't aware of the allegations and all of that stuff, but we just kept it moving as far as our culture, but we also were aware that there was some serious business being handled, and the league was going to take care of it."

Baxter Holmes of ESPN reported on the allegations after interviewing more than 70 former and current Suns employees who have interacted with Sarver during his 17-year tenure as team governor.

"The level of misogyny and racism is beyond the pale," one Suns co-owner said. "It's embarrassing as an owner."

Holmes' report detailed "a toxic and sometimes hostile workplace under Sarver" in which he "used racially insensitive language repeatedly." Some of the sources said Sarver "fostered an environment in which employees felt they were his property" and engaged in "conduct they felt was inappropriate and misogynistic."

Vardon reported Williams and general manager James Jones met with the players as a group after ESPN's report came out.

"We have a communicative group," star guard Devin Booker told Vardon. "We talk to each other a lot. We keep everything in house. It's a tight-knit group. We speak on everything, and we share with each other how we feel about it, and nobody else finds out how we feel about things."

The open communication seems to have helped the team on the court.

Phoenix is 15-3 and on a 14-game winning streak after Wednesday's victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. It has the second-best record in the NBA behind the 16-2 Golden State Warriors and looks like a title contender again after losing to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Finals last season.

Next up for the Suns is a road game against the New York Knicks on Friday.