PHOENIX (AP) – The Phoenix Suns released a statement regarding a possible media investigation into the franchise’s workplace culture, denying that the organization or owner Robert Sarver has 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 subjects.” The Suns responded by saying that these were “completely unfounded claims” and that “documentary evidence in our possession and testimonies 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: “Nothing that has been said describes the Robert Sarver I know, respect and love – it just isn’t not the case.”
The franchise has just had one of the most successful seasons in its history, reaching 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 final three times, in 1976, 1993 and 2021, but have never won a championship.
Suns coach Monty Williams spoke to the media on Friday ahead of the team’s game against the Lakers in Los Angeles, saying he was aware of the potential report but did not want to “comment to this topic until I have time to process a lot of information and get everything I need to know about the situation. “
He added that he didn’t expect the situation to be a distraction for the team.
“Nothing will invade or erode our culture,” said Williams. “That’s something we said from day one. Wins, losses, we play basketball, we play hoop and that’s not going to change.”
Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver attends Game 2 of the 2021 WNBA Finals at the Footprint Center on October 13, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The potential investigation was revealed on Friday when league analyst Jordan Schultz posted a message on social media saying that the league was bracing for a “massive” story and that if there is “enough evidence to back up such claims, there is a real chance the league will 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 cannot begin to figure out how to respond to some of the vague suggestions made by mostly anonymous voices, I can certainly tell you that some of the statements that I find completely repugnant to my nature and the character of the Suns / Mercury workplace and I can tell you that never happened, ”Sarver said.
Not even a full week into the season, the NBA now has another potentially significant issue on its hands – even without knowing the full scope of the charges the Suns say are coming.
The Suns’ statements came two days after Boston center Enes Kanter called for Tibet’s independence, comments that prompted a Chinese broadcast partner to stop broadcasting Celtics games in the basketball-mad country. ball.
There are also two top players sidelined for various reasons, with Brooklyn not allowing Kyrie Irving to be with their team until he gets his coronavirus shot and Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons not participating. not in practice or in games with the 76ers after looking for a job that still has to be done.