ESPN’s Baxter Holmes released a scathing look at Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver — alleging use of foul and potentially racist language, along with claims of misogynist behavior. Sarver has been a co-owner of the Suns since 2004.
According to the ESPN article, citing the accounts of nearly 70 employees and former members of the team that stepped forward, Sarver has been flagged for using the N-word in recounting stories shared among Black members of the Suns; also repeating the term when overheard from an opposing teams’ players.
Holmes’ report highlights former Suns coach Earl Watson testimony in telling Sarver not to use the word. Sarver used the N-word after repeating something he overheard from Golden State’s Draymond Green — a scene dated back to 2016.
Claims of misogyny have stemmed from Sarver flaunting a picture of his wife in a bikini and openly discussing oral sex among the organization’s members.
Sarver was also described as mistreating workers — featuring a story where he lashed out at assistant coach Corliss Williamson. The owner got furious over former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton’s lackluster performance during a game in the 2018-2019 season. He grabbed a copy of the player’s stat sheet and slammed it before Williamson.
“In all my years, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen an owner come in there and act like that with the coaching staff,” Williamson attested.
Per OutKick’s Sam Amico, via Hoops Wire, Sarver has denied the allegations through his legal representation.
“I’ve never called anyone or any group of people the N-word, or referred to anyone or any group of people by the N-word, either verbally or in writing,” Sarver claimed. “I don’t use that word. It is abhorrent and ugly and denigrating and against everything I believe in.
“On one occasion a player used the N-word to describe the importance of having each others’ back. I responded by saying, ‘I wouldn’t say n—a, I would say that we’re in the foxhole together.’ An assistant coach approached me a short time after and told me that I shouldn’t say the word, even if I were quoting someone else. I immediately apologized and haven’t said it ever again. The N-word has never been a part of my vocabulary.”
A division over the allegations made at Sarver continue to be split as fellow Suns CEO Jason Rowley spoke out to defend Sarver; meanwhile, former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough released a video supporting the article’s claims.
Check in with OutKick as the allegations against Sarver develop.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela