Phoenix Suns front office under fire for racist remarks


Xavier Williams, Contributor

The Phoenix Suns are fresh off of their first playoff appearance in 10 years. It’s been 20 years since they reached the NBA Finals. To say the Suns have been a struggling franchise for the past decade would be an understatement as they’ve been a mainstay at the bottom of the league for much of that time. 

With the Suns roster stacked with All Star talent, their worries don’t lie on the court nowadays but rather in the organization’s front office.  Last week, ESPN reported accusations of Robert Sarver, owner of the Suns and Mercury WNBA team, being racist, sexist, and creating a hostile culture. 

This extensive report extends across an entire organization that contributed in building this work environment for years. Numerous former employees described their work life as “toxic”. Sarver, who has been the owner of both teams since 2004, has denied all allegations against him saying. 

I have never called anyone or any group of people the n-word, or referred to anyone or any group of people by that word, either verbally or in writing. I don’t use that word. It is abhorrent and ugly and denigrating and against everything I believe in,” Sarver said. 

This comes after former coach, Earl Watson, says that Sarver used the n word “frequently in the workplace” Watson said. Sarver believes that he is looking forward to the investigation taking place. 

Many people have called for Sarvers’ termination in the wake of this report, which includes eighty former and current employees and players. The NBA is trying to avoid another incident like 2014 with former Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, who was actually caught on tape using racial slurs and was soon after fired. 

The NBA is dominated by black players, with a 75 percent player rate, yet when it comes to coaches that number significantly decreases to 23 percent. The number of General Managers has increased in the past few years and is now the highest it has ever been with 10.  

The Suns are the only team in the league to have a black head coach in Monty Williams, the reigning coach of the year, and a Black General Manager, James Jones who was just named executive of the year. James, Jones, Monty Williams and the Suns players have presented a united front. Team leaders Chris Paul and Devin Booker have stated they haven’t experienced any racism or inappropriate behavior described by many since joining the team.  

It will be interesting to see how the investigation plays out over the next couple of months for the Suns and what it means for their future. Will this be a distraction for the team going forward? Will the former employees and players involved receive proper reparations for all they endured? Regardless of how the investigation plays out, NBA spokesperson, Mike Bass said it best, “these allegations are extremely serious.”