NBA team owner fined over £8m and banned over racism, conduct and bullying

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Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has been handed a £8.65million ($10m) fine and received a one-year ban after an investigation over claims of racism, sexual misconduct and bullying.

The NBA announced the decision on Wednesday morning after an independent review published their findings. It is the biggest ban of its kind after 80,000 pieces of evidence were considered.

A statement read: "This conduct included the 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.”

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The NBA found that Sarver had used the N-word at least five times after "recounting the statements of others". The report also concluded that the 60-year-old, worth up to £700m ($800m), "engaged in instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees, made 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.”

Law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz handled the investigation and the NBA said that there were interviews with 320 people, including current and former employees of the Phoenix Suns and Sarver. More than 80,000 documents, including emails, texts and videos, were looked into.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: “The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing.

“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.

“I am hopeful that the NBA community will use this opportunity to reflect on what this great game means to people everywhere and the values of equality, respect and inclusion that it strives to represent.

“Regardless of position, power or intent, we all need to recognise the corrosive and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and demeaning language and behaviour. On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologise to all of those impacted by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report. We must do better.”

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