The National Basketball Association is investigating Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver for allegations of racism, misogyny, and sexual harassment, according to CBS Sports.
He has been accused of using the “N-word” at least several times and of circulating bikini-clad photos of his wife while making lewd comments about her performing oral sex on him. Many say Sarver has exhibited such behavior since he purchased the team 17 years ago, according to ESPN.
“The level of misogyny and racism is beyond the pale,” another Suns co-owner said, referring to Sarver. “It’s embarrassing as an owner.”
Sarver is also being criticized for his views on diversity. Five years ago, when former Suns coach Earl Watson, who is Black and Hispanic, expressed to Sarver that he thought the organization lacked sufficient diversity, Sarver reportedly quipped, “I don’t like diversity.”
Investigators have conducted interviews with more than 70 current and former Suns employees, who say the workplace has been toxic ever since Sarver took the helm.
Sarver refutes the allegations and has insisted through his attorneys that he never uses the “N-word.” The Suns have also denied the claims, according to the CBS News.
It is not the first time the NBA has investigated a team owner for exhibiting such behavior. In 2014, former Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the league for life after an investigation uncovered audio recordings that confirmed he was guilty of sexist and racist conduct.