(The Center Square) – The mayor of Phoenix and city council members are not happy with Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver.
Mayor Kate Gallego and four publicly-elected Phoenix city council members issued a statement condemning Sarver in the wake of an NBA investigation that found that he had bullied people within the organization and used offensive language, including racist and sexually-explicit comments.
Sarver received a $10 million fine and a one-year suspension from the NBA after the bombshell report was released last week.
The statement issued by Gallego and councilmen Debra Stark (District 3), Better Guardado (District 5), Yassamin Ansari (District 7), and Carlos Garcia (District 8) started by saying that the councilors found Sarver’s behavior appalling.
“We, like many others in our community, are appalled by the actions substantiated in the NBA’s independent investigation into Phoenix Suns’ managing partner Robert Sarver,” the statement read. “We are extremely disappointed to learn of the awful actions that were allowed to take place within the organization and the lack of organizational safeguards to protect the victims of these acts and hold their perpetrators accountable.”
They added that Sarver’s actions go against the values they try to foster in Phoenix.
“Over the years, elected officials who serve the City of Phoenix have taken direct actions to create a safe and welcoming environment for all Phoenicians,” they wrote. “Within our city, actions of discrimination and hate, based on a person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or disability, are unacceptable, intolerable, and unlawful.”
“The Phoenix Suns are known by millions of people around the world and represent our city and region to a large and loyal fanbase,” they added. “It is unacceptable for the organization’s leadership to be associated in any way with the despicable actions detailed in the report. We are equally concerned about a culture that would enable these actions to occur time and again, with – at most – ineffective disciplinary action.”
The mayor and councilors concluded their statement by calling on the city to conduct a separate investigation into the matter.
“We have asked city staff to investigate any actions we, as leaders of the City of Phoenix, can take in light of the details substantiated in the report,” they wrote. “The actions as outlined in this report do not represent the values of this city. We call on the NBA to take all actions required to ensure this behavior is stopped and to reform the culture that allowed these actions to occur.”
A spokesperson for the Phoenix Suns could not be reached for comment.