With Robert Sarver announcing his intentions Wednesday to sell the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, some eyes within the sports world return to Washington and embattled Commanders owner Dan Snyder.
Last week, the NBA released its findings on Sarver after a year-long investigation into workplace misconduct and inappropriate behavior. Together with the published report, the NBA fined Sarver $10 million and suspended him for a yr. Per week later, after pressure from inside and out of doors the Suns organization, Sarver committed to selling each the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.
“As a person of religion, I think in atonement and the trail to forgiveness,” Sarver wrote in an announcement Wednesday. “I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would offer the time for me to focus, make amends and take away my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love.
“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has develop into painfully clear that that isn’t any longer possible – that whatever good I even have done, or could still do, is outweighed by things I even have said prior to now. For those reasons, I’m starting the means of searching for buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”
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Pressure mounted on Sarver from his minority owner and sponsors to sell the team. Jahm Najafi, the team’s second-largest stakeholder, called for Sarver’s resignation. PayPal said it would not renew as a team sponsor if Sarver stayed.
While Snyder has faced pressure from Congress and handled an unhappy fanbase, one source noted that the unique pressures Sarver faced aren’t in front of Snyder. Earlier this yr, Snyder bought out his minority owners and owns 100% of the Commanders.
And just an hour before Sarver’s news broke Wednesday, the Commanders announced a latest sponsor for the team’s training facilities.
Snyder, who has not been involved in day-to-day operations with the Washington Commanders since July 2021, is the topic of two more investigations looking into alleged misconduct. Mary Jo White, a former SEC chairwoman, is leading the investigations.
The NFL famously decided to not release a written report following a year-long investigation by Beth Wilkinson into workplace misconduct. The league fined Snyder $10 million, and he has not represented the team at league meetings or been involved within the day-to-day operations since.
The league said in February it could release a written report from White once complete. The primary allegation centers on former team worker Tiffani Johnston, who alleged Snyder sexually harassed her at a piece dinner in 2005 or 2006. The opposite investigation is looking into alleged financial improprieties regarding Washington’s ticket revenue.
Synder has denied allegations of wrongdoing.
Jeff Miller, the NFL’s EVP of communications, public affairs and policy, said last week that White remains to be pursuing these investigations and has no timeline on when her findings might be made public.
The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have declined to make public the findings from the Wilkinson report. Goodell has said since the league promised anonymity to witnesses and victims, the league cannot release even a heavily-redacted report.
Snyder testified virtually in front of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight for greater than 10 hours back in July. The small print of that testimony have yet to be made public.