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Reverend Al Sharpton Calls for Suns' Robert Sarver to Be Removed from NBA After Probe

Adam WellsSeptember 13, 2022

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

In the wake of the NBA's decision to issue a fine and suspension to Robert Sarver for racist and misogynistic behavior, Reverend Al Sharpton is calling for Sarver's removal as governor of the Phoenix Suns and Mercury.

Sharpton made his announcement in a statement released Tuesday:

Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin

"While I commend the league for taking this step, the report findings clearly show that Mr. Sarver has perpetrated egregious acts of racism and misogyny and should no longer be welcome in the back office or on the sidelines"<a href="https://twitter.com/TheRevAl?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheRevAl</a> calls owners to vote out <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Suns?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Suns</a> Robert Sarver <a href="https://t.co/rKdnSsCAeI">pic.twitter.com/rKdnSsCAeI</a>

The NBA issued a statement announcing Sarver has been suspended for one year and fined $10 million stemming from the results of an independent investigation that found he used the N-word at least five times "when recounting the statements of others."

The league also noted there were "instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, including inappropriate comments about their physical appearance" and "sex-related comments in the workplace."

An investigation into Phoenix's workplace was commissioned by the NBA in the wake of a Nov. 2021 report from ESPN's Baxter Holmes that detailed allegations of racism and misogyny within the Suns organization throughout Sarver's tenure as governor.

In April 2014, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined then-Los Angeles Clippers governor Donald Sterling $2.5 million and banned him for life in the wake of a TMZ report that contained audio allegedly of Sterling making racist comments to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano.

Shelly Sterling, Donald's wife, negotiated a sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion before the league moved ahead with a planned vote to terminate the Sterlings' ownership of the franchise.

Per Holmes and Adrian Wojnarowski, even though the NBA's statement said Sarver cooperated fully with the investigation, he "was unaccepting of (the) idea he deserved a one-year suspension and $10M fine for his behavior."

Sarver purchased the Suns for a then-league record $401 million in April 2004. His purchase of the NBA club from previous governor Jerry Colangelo also included the Mercury in the WNBA.

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