The NBA on Wednesday suspended Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver for a year plus a fine of $10 million after a workplace misconduct investigation.
According to the findings revealed in a statement, Sarver engaged in conduct that violated common workplace standards, i.e. use of racially insensitive language, unequal treatment of female employees, sex-related statements and conduct, and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying.
The NBA said the investigation reviewed more than 80,000 documents and other materials, including emails, text messages and videos.
A total of 320 individuals were interviewed, including 202 current employees, 100 former employees, and 12 of the team’s 15 minority owners during Sarver’s 18-year tenure.
The NBA said the penalty amount will be donated to organizations “committed to addressing race and gender-based issues in and outside the workplace.”
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The basketball association also mandated the Suns to fulfill a series of requirements for workplace improvements such as conducting regular and anonymous workplace culture surveys, and reporting any instances or allegations of significant misconduct by any employee.
“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We believe the outcome is the right one, taking into account all the facts, circumstances and context brought to light by the comprehensive investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to upholding proper standards in NBA workplaces.”