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Phoenix Suns And Mercury Owner Robert Sarver Says He Plans To Sell Both Teams After Backlash From Players

LeBron James among the many NBA players who felt Sarver should've been given a stiffer penalty for his misconduct

Former Miami Heat player LeBron James and several others in the NBA got their wish. 

On Wednesday, Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver issued a statement saying he was in the process of selling both teams. Sarver initially was suspended for one year and fined $10 million for making racist and misogynist remarks in the workplace. After many in the league expressed their disappointment with the punishment, Sarver appears to have caved to the pressure. 

"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 said in the statement. "As a man of faith, I believe in atonement and the path to forgiveness. I expected that the commissioner's one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love. 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. For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury."

Last week James, who played for the Heat from 2010-14 and is now with the Los Angeles Lakers, took to Twitter to say he was disappointed with the original punishement. 

He said the league should've been tougher on Sarver. 

"Read through the Sarver stories a few times now," James tweeted. "I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t need to explain why. Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of behavior. I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this aint it."


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Shandel Richardson is the Miami Heat writer for Inside The Heat. He can also be read in the Sportsbook Review for gambling coverage from around the NBA.