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Robert Thurber announces plans to sell NBA's Phoenix Suns and WNBA's Mercury amid controversy

A week after the NBA suspended Robert Thurber for a year and fined him $10 million, the embattled owner announced plans Wednesday to sell the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. Announced.

“We are beginning the process of finding buyers for Suns and Mercury,” Thurber said in a statement.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a two-sentence statement late Tuesday, saying he fully supports the decision.

“This is the right next step for the organization and community,” he said.

CJ McCollum, president of the National Basketball Players Association, was equally brief, but satisfied.

“We thank Mr. Thurber for making a swift decision that is in the best interest of our sports community.”

of The Suns themselves issued a statement On behalf of team management supporting pending sales.

“We agree that Robert Thurber’s decision to sell Sands and Mercury is in the best interests of the organization and community,” the statement read.

The NBA last week released a 43-page report based on an independent law firm’s 10-month investigation into allegations of racism, misogyny, and other workplace misconduct against Server.320 interviews. and among the most harrowing findings from a review of over 80,000 documents, the server “said the N-word at least five times, repeating or intending to repeat what a black person said.” I had proof. Never say the N word, even when quoting someone else. “

An investigation uncovered an extensive list of instances in which servers were found to harass male and female employees. In one instance, reports say he threatened the role of a pregnant employee that “babies need mothers, not fathers,” called a meeting with a lawyer, and said that the server was “doing nothing wrong.” No,” he told the woman. On another occasion, he “exposed his genitals to a kneeling male employee,” the report said. The investigation detailed dozens more crimes.

Shortly after the suspension and fine, Thurber said in a statement last week, “While I disagree with some of the details in the NBA report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that have offended our employees. I take responsibility for what I have done.” I apologize for causing this pain. These errors of judgment do not align with my personal philosophies and values.

“I accept the consequences of the NBA’s decision,” he added, vowing to “learn and grow” in his absence.

Given the amount of accusations and evidence, the NBA didn’t permanently ban servers, as it did in light of then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks in 2014. It was severely criticized for it.

The NBPA was one of the league’s toughest critics. During an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Today, NBPA Executive His Director Tamika Tremaglio called for his lifetime suspension last Friday.

“I speak on behalf of our players. I want to be very clear that I don’t want you to

Similarly, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said last week, “There is no place for that kind of action in this league. I love the league and have deep respect for our leadership.” But this is not correct.”

Chris Paul, Suns star and former NBPA president who also played for the Clippers in 2014, said, “I think the sanctions weren’t enough to truly address what we all agree is atrocities. is thinking.”

Days after the NBA released the report, Jahm Najafi, the Suns’ second largest stakeholder, called for Thurber’s resignation. ‘ said.

Longtime sponsor PayPal also said last week that it would not renew his contract with both Phoenix franchises if the servers returned to his post after being suspended. The company’s contract, which includes a patch for , expires at the end of this season.

Silver held a press conference last week and, like the investigation, did not call Thurber’s behavior overtly racist, sexist, or misogynistic. Silver also suggested that the reason the servers weren’t permanently banned was because “someone who owns an NBA team has special rights as opposed to someone who is an employee”. Technically, a three-fourths vote of team owners is required for the league to remove a peer. The NBA did not conduct such a vote.

As a result, it came as a surprise when Server announced its intention to sell the team.

As a person of faith, I believe in atonement and a path to forgiveness,” he said in a statement Wednesday. Controversy from me and the team that many fans love.

“However, in our current inexorable circumstances, it has become painfully clear that this is no longer possible: the process of finding buyers for Sands and Mercury.

“I do not want to distract these two teams and the amazing people who work so hard to bring the joy and excitement of basketball to fans around the world. , our fans, our community, our fellow owners, the NBA and the WNBA, this is the best thing we can do for everyone.”

An NBA investigation detailed instances of Server’s verbal and physical misconduct during his tenure as owner. Evidence goes from 2004, when he bought a team and allegedly said the N-word during a free agent recruitment pitch, to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, who exposed his toxic state, and Server, who “made cursory references to sex.” ” ranged through 2021. A meeting that pissed off an employee.

Forbes listed Sands’ valuation at $1.8 billion in October 2021. According to HolmesServer owns approximately one-third of the franchise and, as managing partner, can approve a full sale of the team.

Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Thurber has announced plans to sell both franchises. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer at Yahoo Sports. Any tips? Email rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow us on Twitter. Follow @Brobach

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