ESPN dropped a bombshell report on Thursday, accusing Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver of “racism, sexism, and sexual harassment” during his 17-year tenure in charge of the organization. Baxter Holmes published a lengthy story, based on interviews with “70-plus current and former employees,” detailing Sarver’s shocking behavior since taking over in Phoenix.
One of the most jarring anecdotes that Holmes provided in the piece came at the beginning of the story and details an interaction between Sarver and former Suns head coach Earl Watson. After a 2016 game against the Golden State Warriors, the 60-year-old, white owner allegedly complained to Watson, who is Black and Hispanic, about Draymond Green‘s used of the N-word while on the court.
In doing so, Sarver repeated the N-word multiple times.
“You can’t say that,” Watson reportedly told Sarver, per Holmes.
“Why?” Sarver replied. “Draymond Green says [N-word].”
“You can’t f—ing say that,” Watson said again.
Sarver’s alleged racist behavior caught the attention of the NBA world and even Green took note of the ESPN report. The Warriors forward
But I was fined?? Lol smh
— Draymond Green (@Money23Green) November 4, 2021
“>took to Twitter to seemingly give his thoughts on the part of the story that mentioned him.
The 2016 anecdote was just one of many troubling instances detailing Sarver’s unsavory behavior in Holmes’ report on Thursday. Among the individuals quoted in the piece is one current Suns co-owner, who said “the level of misogyny and racism is beyond the pale,” of Sarver. “It’s embarrassing as an owner.”
Another former executive said that “there’s literally nothing you could tell me about him from a misogynistic or race standpoint that would surprise me.”
Sarver issued a statement two weeks ago, prior to the report’s publication, denying many of the accusations made against him.
“I am wholly shocked by some of the allegations purported by ESPN about me, personally, or about the Phoenix Suns and Mercury organizations,” Sarver wrote in a statement. “While I can’t begin to know how to respond to some of the vague suggestions made by mostly anonymous voices, I can certainly tell you that some of the claims I find completely repugnant to my nature and to the character of the Suns/Mercury workplace and I can tell you they never, ever happened.”
The full ESPN report on Sarver can be found here.