The Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury Governor Robert Sarver has received a year long suspension and a $10 million fine. The suspension and fine come after in April of 2021 Baxter Holmes of ESPN wrote a long article filled with several allegations of misconduct by Sarver. Those allegations included saying the n-word multiple times as well making inappropriate comments about the physical appearances of females and inappropriate physical conduct toward males. The NBA’s investigation is said to have included over 320 interviews as well as the evaluation of over 80,000 documents. It sounds like that this was a thorough investigation.
$10 million is after some quick googling the biggest fine in NBA history and by some margin. The second biggest one as far as I can tell is for the Timberwolves when they tried to circumvent the salary cap to sign Joe Smith. That fine totaled $3.5 million plus they lost draft picks as well. Still, Sarver has an estimated net worth of $850 million. Hard to imagine that this fine will do much to affect his day to day life. The NBA has said it plans to donate the $10 million to organizations committed to addressing race and gender based issues in and outside the workplace.
The one year suspension will presumably bar Sarver from attending games. We do not yet have details on how far the suspension will go in terms of his ability to be around the team in any capacity will be. Or even what would be the punishment if he were to break the terms of this suspension.
What This Means
Robert Sarver is an insanely rich person. That generally means that there is not much you can do to punish a man like that. The most severe punishment we have had in the NBA was when the league forced Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. A process that ultimately made him billions of dollars. Still coming just short of expelling Sarver from the league this seems to be about the strongest possible punishment the NBA could muster. Hopefully the NBA continues to monitor the Suns. Otherwise we have no proof anything in the organization will change.
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