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NBA Launches Investigation After Phoenix Suns Owner’s History of Racism and Misogyny

The NBA is launching an investigation into the Phoenix Suns after a report was published on Thursday saying that Robert Sarver has a history of racist, misogynistic and hostile incidents during his 17-year run as the owner.

“The allegations contained in today’s ESPN article are extremely serious, and we have directed the Wachtell Lipton law firm to commence a comprehensive investigation,” NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass said in a statement. “The NBA and WNBA remain committed to providing a respectful and inclusive workplace for all employees. Once the investigation is completed, its findings will provide the basis for any league action.”

The report, published by ESPN, interviewed dozens of former and current team employees. Some of them detailed the inappropriate behavior from Sarver. However, most of the allegations are from anonymous sources with a few on record.

Sarver denied and disputed most of the allegations through his legal team. “I would entirely welcome an impartial NBA investigation which may prove our only outlet for clearing my name and the reputation of an organization of which I’m so very proud,” Sarver said in a new statement issued on Thursday.

Former Suns coach Earl Watson said that Sarver repeated the N-word several times when voicing his displeasure about a Golden State player using the N-word during a game in 2016. However, Sarver disputed the claim and said that Watson was “clearly not a credible source” since he was fired a few years ago.

The report also says that many employees have claimed Sarver had a history of “making lewd comments in all-staff meetings,” which Sarver has yet to respond to. Sarver has owned the Phoenix Suns since 2004. The 59-year-old Phoenix businessman also owns the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

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