Suns respond to potential investigation, deny racism, sexism

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns released a statement regarding a potential media investigation into the workplace culture of the franchise, denying that the organization or owner Robert Sarver have a history of racism or sexism.

The statement sent Friday said the organization is aware that ESPN is working on a story accusing the organization of misconduct on a “variety of topics.” The Suns responded by saying they were “completely baseless claims” and “documentary evidence in our possession and eyewitness accounts directly contradict the reporter’s accusations, and we are preparing our response to his questions.”

Sarver — a Phoenix businessman — has owned the Suns since 2004.

Suns general manager James Jones, who is Black, said in the team’s response: “None of what’s been said describes the Robert Sarver I know, respect and like – it just doesn’t.”

The franchise is coming off one of the most successful seasons in its history, making the NBA Finals with stars Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton before losing in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns have made the Finals three times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, but have never won a championship.

The potential investigation came to light Friday when league analyst Jordan Schultz posted a message on social media that said the league was preparing for a “massive” story and that if there is “enough evidence to support such claims, there’s a real chance the league would forcibly remove Sarver.”

Sarver and the Suns responded with a lengthy statement. The 59-year-old Sarver also owns the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury.

“While I can’t begin to know how to respond to some of the vague suggestions made by mostly anonymous voices, I can certainly tell you that some of the claims I find completely repugnant to my nature and to the character of the Suns/Mercury workplace and I can tell you they never, ever happened,” Sarver said.

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David Brandt, The Associated Press

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