“Words that I deeply regret now overshadow nearly two decades of building organizations that brought people together — and strengthened the Phoenix area — through the unifying power of professional men’s and women’s basketball,” Sarver, the managing partner of both teams, said in a statement.
Sarver had hoped the suspension would “provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy,” the statement went on.
“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible — that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I have said in the past,” he said. “For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he fully supported the decision.
“This is the right next step for the organization and community,” the commissioner said.
A report detailing the investigation, commissioned by the NBA last fall after an ESPN report about Sarver’s alleged behavior, found he had “on at least five occasions during his tenure with the Suns/Mercury organization, repeated the N-word when recounting the statements of others.”
Additionally, according to the report, Sarver “engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees.”
Sarver could no longer represent the NBA, Green said Tuesday on his podcast, adding the behavior outlined in the report went “against everything that the NBA stands for.”
“The NBA stands for inclusion. The NBA stands for diversity. The NBA definitely stands against bigotry and racism …This report that came out last week is the total opposite of everything that the NBA stands for,” Green said on his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show.”
National Basketball Players Association President CJ McCollum, who plays for New Orleans, said, “We thank Mr. Sarver for making a swift decision that was in the best interest of our sports community.”
CNN has reached out to the Phoenix Suns and Mercury for comment.