NBA insider speaks out after Sarver allegations, says it will “blow the NBA world up”

File photo of Robert Sarver.
File photo of Robert Sarver.(Arizona's Family)
Updated: Oct. 22, 2021 at 2:28 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has been accused of alleged racism, sexism and sexual harassments according to an NBA insider and analyst Jordan Schultz on Friday afternoon. In a tweet posted by Schultz, he explained the NBA was preparing for a massive story involving Suns owner Robert Sarver, who is accused of racism, sexism and sexual harassment in multiple incidents, according to Schultz’s sources. If there is enough evidence to support the claims, the NBA could forcibly remove Sarver from his role, Schultz says.

The team issued a statement saying they have evidence and eyewitness accounts that directly contradict Schultz’s claims. “We urge everyone not to rush to judgment here.  Especially based on lies, innuendo, and a false narrative to attack our organization and its leadership,” posted the team in a statement.

Arizona’s Family Sports Director Mark McClune interviewed Schultz, who said the ESPN piece has been brewing for over a year and it is expected to come out soon.

“I have been told within the next week or two, but that was before I had reported it was coming. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if it got expedited...I think it’ll be sooner than later because from my understanding, ESPN has been working on this story for about a year with upwards of 50 to 100 people on the record,” explained Schultz.

According to Schultz, there is a statement that included Sarver saying sexist statement about women owners in the league. “There’s a statement I know was made, and I hope this is in the piece, about Robert Sarver saying something extremely disparaging to one of the female owners...the thought was he didn’t believe that there should be female owners or that they were the lower class,” revealed Schultz.

Schultz says the story is expected to be a bombshell and it will shake up the NBA world. “What I was told, is that as big a story you think it is, it’s that much bigger. It’s a monster,” said Schultz. “It’s gonna blow the NBA world up.”

Phoenix Suns General Manager James Jones also issued a statement after the alleged accusations. “None of what’s been said describes the Robert Sarver I know, respect and like - it just doesn’t,” posted Jones.

Sarver issued a statement about the alleged accusations on Friday afternoon.

“I am wholly shocked by some of the allegations purported by ESPN about me, personally, or about the Phoenix Suns and Mercury organizations. While I can’t begin to know how to respond to some of the vague suggestions made by mostly anonymous voices, I can certainly tell you that some of the claims I find completely repugnant to my nature and to the character of the Suns/Mercury workplace and I can tell you they never, ever happened.

“First and foremost, I reject any insinuation of personal or organizational racism or gender discrimination. I despise language that disrespects any individuals, regardless of race, gender, preference, or choice. Such language has no place in business or at home in what I consider Suns and Mercury families. I am proud of our record of diversity and inclusion on both teams – whether on the court or in the front office.

“I don’t begin to know how to prove that something DIDN’T happen, and it is difficult to erase or forget ugly accusations once they are made. Even hints of racism or sexism in our culture today are toxic and damaging and should not be lightly raised.  I categorically deny any and all suggestions that I used disparaging language related to race or gender.  I would like to think that my actions and public record regarding race, gender, or discrimination of any kind, over a lifetime in business and community service, will adequately answer any questions anyone might raise about my commitment to equality and fairness.”

The tweet comes after the news of contract talks between the Suns and Deandre Ayton came to an abrupt stop on Monday’s deadline. The Suns did not grant Ayton a five-year, $172.5 million max contract ahead of the deadline, according to ESPN. Next summer, Ayton could enter free agency and sign a deal elsewhere.

Meanwhile, forward Mikal Bridges signed a four-year $90 million and guard Landry Shamet also signed a four-year, $43 million rookie extension in the past weeks. The Suns also paid big bucks back in August for Chris Paul to remain in Phoenix; four-year, $120 million.

Fans have had mixed reactions to the allegations. Scottsdale resident Elias Dotson wanted to hear more. “I like to get the proof first before we just get to jumping to conclusions and all that. But you’d be surprised, you’d be surprised.”

“We hope it’s false, we hope it’s false. Because we don’t want the Valley to lose any type of faith and pride for the Suns that they’ve been bringing to the state,” says Glendale resident Tahe Calimon.

Sarver has served as owner of the Phoenix Suns since 2004, when he purchased the team for $401 million. He is a native to Arizona, born and raised in Tucson, where he later graduated from University of Arizona.