Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury owner Robert Sarver is preparing to sell his teams.
Sarver, who has owned the Suns and Mercury since 2004, released a statement Wednesday announcing he would be starting the process to sell both teams.
“As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness,” the statement read. “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.
“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.”
After a 10-month long investigation into allegations of racism, misogyny and sexual harassment made against him by numerous people who had worked for the Suns organization, the NBA suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million on Sept. 13. The response to that decision was not a positive one, with many — including Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James — calling for the NBA to force Sarver into selling the team.
While initial backlash didn’t cause Sarver to budge, it became clear that he wouldn’t be able to continue in the same capacity moving forward and have his team be successful. PayPal, the Suns’ jersey patch sponsor, threatened to not renew their partnership with the team if Sarver remained owner, while the team’s second-largest stakeholder, Jahm Najafi, called for Sarver to resign.