It turns out that the backlash behind Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver is more than initially suspected.
We now know that Sarver had decided to rid the team of his name altogether, thanks to a report from NBA insider Shams Charania.
“Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver announces that he has started the process to sell both franchises,” Charania tweeted earlier this afternoon.
Sarver made a statement, saying he regrets that his inappropriate behavior has marred the accomplishments he’s made with the Suns and Mercury over the last two decades.
He explains that he thought the one-year suspension and hefty fine would warrant forgiveness, writing, “As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness. I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love.”
However, he soon realized that an apology wasn’t in the cards, adding, “But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible – that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.
In conclusion, he states that he’ll focus on becoming a better person and helping the community while no longer using basketball as a pathway to do so.
Earlier this month, news broke that the NBA suspended him for a year and fined him $10 million after an independent investigation determined that he said the n-word at least five times after being told to refrain from using it. He was also found to have sexually harassed male and female employees and was demeaning towards subordinates.
LeBron James was among the most outspoken critics, thinking Sarver’s punishment wasn’t harsh enough. However, the King changed his tune after Sarver announced the team’s sales.
“I’m so proud to be a part of a league committed to progress!” he tweeted, realizing that the backlash was enough to rid the league of the owner’s racist ways.