NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly apologized multiple times on behalf of the league to employees of the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday for the years of workplace misconduct under owner Robert Sarver.
“I’m incredibly empathetic to what many of you have lived through,” Silver said to a group of hundreds of employees, according to ESPN.
The conversation occurred prior to the Suns’ first regular season game against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night.
NBA: SUNS’ OWNER ROBERT SARVER USRED N-WORD ON AT LEAST 5 OCCASIONS, MADE ‘MANY SEX-RELATED’ COMMENTS
“To the extent that you feel let down by the league, I apologize,” Silver said, according to ESPN. “I take responsibility for that.”
In September, Sarver was suspended by the NBA for a year and fined $10 million following the league’s investigation into claims he ran a toxic workplace environment.
The NBA found that Sarver “repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others” at least five times, and “engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees.”
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“Did I hear ever that Robert could be difficult to deal with? Sure,” Silver told employees on Wednesday when asked whether he or the league were aware of issues within the organization.” But that’s very different than conduct which is viewed as discriminatory in any way.”
A week after the suspension was made public, Sarver announced that he would begin the process of seeking buyers for the Suns along with the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
“Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together — and strengthened the Phoenix area — through the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver said in a statement.
“I do not want to be a distraction to these two teams and the fine people who work so hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to fans around the world,” the statement continued. “I want what’s best for these two organizations, the players, the employees, the fans, the community, my fellow owners, the NBA and the WNBA. This is the best course of action for everyone.”
Phoenix is 1-1 to start the 2022-2023 season.