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Suns CEO Jason Rowley Won't Resign Despite Allegations of Workplace Misconduct

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 11, 2023

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 28: A Wilson brand official game ball basketball is pictured with the NBA logo on the court during the game between the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic at Little Caesars Arena on December 28, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. 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. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
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Phoenix Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley apparently has no plans to step down from his position despite allegations of workplace misconduct made against him.

Baxter Holmes of ESPN reported Rowley told Suns employees as much during a Dec. 19 meeting.

The meeting took place on the same day Holmes reported Rowley was "at the center of allegations of verbal abuse, retaliation and intimidation in the workplace."

While the allegations against Rowley went beyond his treatment of women, some of the mistreatment was allegedly directed at pregnant and postpartum employees.

"I will say this in regards to the closed-door meeting," a statement released by the Suns and attributed to the president and CEO said. "I confided in them that the story misrepresented me and others. Also, given that the team is going through a period of ownership transition, I communicated that while I do not know my ultimate fate with new ownership, I will never quit on this team and the people who make up this great organization."

New ownership will eventually be in place after billionaire Mat Ishbia agreed to purchase the Suns and WNBA's Phoenix Mercury for $4 billion.

Suspended governor Robert Sarver decided to sell amid public pressure from multiple sources, including players and sponsors, after the NBA released the findings of an independent investigation it commissioned.

The investigation discovered 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."

While Sarver was the primary focus, the investigation also "substantiated instances of workplace misconduct engaged in by Suns employees that were not directly related to Mr. Sarver and a lack of proper organizational policies and controls."

Holmes noted multiple Suns employees hope Ishbia will replace current executives who contributed to such a workplace culture.

Multiple employees also pointed out Rowley did not say he was sorry during the Dec. 19 meeting.

"They want us to feel sorry," an employee said. "I don't. These stories are true and now that they are exposed, there is no amount of apologies, tears, HR trainings or forged compliments that are going to make me feel otherwise about these people."