The Phoenix Suns are facing an internal crisis as allegations of racism and misogyny swirl about the team’s majority owner. Robert Sarver is now the target of an NBA investigation after a report from ESPN blew the lid off of happenings within the Suns organization.
ESPN issued a report on Thursday (November 5) from Baxter Holmes that zeroed in on the allegations made against Sarver, who has been the majority owner of the Suns for the past 17 years. The outlet highlighted comments made by former NBA player and former Suns head coach Earl Watson regarding Sarver’s use of the “n-word” and how he felt a right to use it because Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors did so.
Watson retold the story and said that he challenged Sarver on his usage of the epithet and there was a bit of a back and forth there. Watson, currently an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors, issued a statement after ESPN published its report and thanked the other individuals who came forward with their own accounts of Sarver’s actions.
From Earl Watson:
I am not interested in engaging in an ongoing battle of fact. Instead, I want to applaud the courage of the numerous players, executives, and staffers for fighting toxic environments of racial insensitivity, sexual harassment, and micro-aggressions with their truth
Basketball and 17 years in the NBA has allowed me the financial privilege to speak my truth, but we can’t forget about those who must remain silent for fear of losing their jobs.
The full statement can be read below.
NBA Executive Vice President, Communications Mike Bass issued the following statement on Thursday:
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. 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.
Vince Carter joined the chorus of voices pointing at the allegations made against Sarver during a segment on ESPN’s NBA Today, which can be viewed below. Carter claims that Sarver allegedly instructed players to harm him after he returned to team’s home arena as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.