May 20, 2024
PayPal announced Friday that if controversial Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver isn’t kicked from the franchise, it will withdraw its sponsorship of the team.

PayPal announced Friday that if controversial Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver isn’t kicked from the franchise, it will withdraw its sponsorship of the team.

Sarver is under a one-year suspension from the Suns after an internal investigation found he repeatedly used “hostile” words and slurs against women and minorities, the Associated Press reported. He was spared harsher punishment after the investigating law firm concluded that the words had not been uttered with any “racial animus,” but some believe that he should be fired from the basketball team altogether, PayPal among them. PayPal said the move is in line with the company’s record of combating racism and sexism.

NBA SUSPENDS PHOENIX SUNS OWNER OVER RACIAL SLURS AND SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

“PayPal is a values-driven company and has a strong record of combatting racism, sexism, and all forms of discrimination. We have reviewed the report of the NBA league’s independent investigation into Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and have found his conduct unacceptable and in conflict with our values. PayPal’s sponsorship with the Suns is set to expire at the end of the current season. In light of the findings of the NBA’s investigation, we will not renew our sponsorship should Robert Sarver remain involved with the Suns organization, after serving his suspension,” PayPal CEO and President Dan Schulman said in a statement posted on the company’s website.

“While we strongly reject the conduct of Robert Sarver, we remain supportive of the team, its players, and the experienced and diverse talent now leading the organization,” he added.

The sponsorship wouldn’t be removed immediately but would instead not be renewed at the end of the 2022-23 season. The added financial strain, on top of the Suns’ vice chairman, Jahm Najafi, calling for Sarver to resign, is putting increased pressure on the 10-year owner of the team to leave.

The Suns launched an internal investigation into the conduct of its owner following an investigative piece by ESPN in November 2021 detailing allegations of racist and sexist language by Sarver. The internal investigation found that Sarver had said the N-word on at least five occasions during his ownership of the Suns and used sexist and sexually demeaning language toward female employees.

His punishment was a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine. He was spared further punishment, as the investigation crucially found that Sarver didn’t use “racially insensitive language with the intent to demean or denigrate,” according to the report. The decision not to punish Sarver further has led to widespread outrage among players and industry figures, including basketball star LeBron James. National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Tamika Tremaglio, in an interview with ESPN, went so far as to call for the NBA to ban Sarver for life.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

PayPal has been a sponsor of the Suns since 2018, with a deal worth an estimated $3 million, sources told the sports outlet.

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