The NBA has moved to suspend and fine Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver after an investigation found he repeatedly used the N-word and made many "sex-related comments."
According to TMZ, Sarver has been banned from the league for one season and must pay a $10 million fine following the conclusion of the NBA's extensive probe into the owner's workplace conduct.
After interviewing 320 current and former Suns employees and examining more than 80,000 documents, the NBA found Sarver "engaged in conduct that clearly violated common workplace standards, as reflected in team and League rules and policies," per a statement released by the league.
"This conduct included the use of racially insensitive language; unequal treatment of female employees; sex-related statements and conduct; and harsh treatment of employees that on occasion constituted bullying," the statement continues.
Specifically, the NBA determined that Sarver used the N-word at least five times "when recounting the statements of others."
However, his repeated use of the slur wasn't motivated by racial hate or prejudice, the league claims.
The NBA added that Sarver made inappropriate remarks regarding the appearance of female employees and failed to treat them equally to their male counterparts.
He also engaged in physical misconduct with male employees, per the league's statement.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver called the findings "troubling and disappointing."
"I am hopeful that the NBA community will use this opportunity to reflect on what this great game means to people everywhere and the values of equality, respect, and inclusion that it strives to represent," Silver said in a statement. "Regardless of position, power or intent, we all need to recognize the corrosive and hurtful impact of racially insensitive and demeaning language and behavior."
"On behalf of the entire NBA, I apologize to all of those impacted by the misconduct outlined in the investigators’ report. We must do better," he added.
Sarver has been mandated to complete a workplace conduct course during his one-year suspension, and he will be unable to access the team or its facilities.
The Suns will also have to hire an outside firm to advise on workplace training, hiring, and compensation, per TMZ.
According to reports, Sarver's $10 million penalty is the highest amount the league can fine.
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