The NBA will investigate the allegation that Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver is not paying his players and instead feeding them to a bank account. The allegations came up in May after an email was sent from player Devin Booker’s lawyer, Ersula Orengo stating he had been paid $110k but never received anything.
The “Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul, Devin Booker focused on hoops as NBA investigates Robert Sarver allegations” is a recent article detailing the Phoenix Suns’ focus on basketball. They are trying to stay positive despite all of the controversy surrounding their owner, Robert Sarver.
PHOENIX, Ariz. — While the NBA’s investigation into claims of misbehavior by club owner Robert Sarver continues, the Phoenix Suns’ leadership has pledged to concentrate on basketball.
During Sarver’s 17-year stint as owner, ESPN released a comprehensive piece based on hundreds of interviews that revealed several episodes of sexism and bigotry. Sarver’s counsel have delivered a succession of emphatic rejections in remarks and comments. The NBA has instructed Wachtell Lipton to conduct a thorough investigation, which will serve as the foundation for any punishment taken by the league against Sarver.
“I believe we have a tight-knit team that stays together,” Suns star shooting guard Devin Booker said after Phoenix’s 123-111 victory against the Houston Rockets on Thursday, with Sarver’s courtside seats unoccupied. “We certainly talk about it, but, as Chris [Paul] pointed out, we still have to show up for shootaround and play a game today. We’re concentrating on basketball, and I believe everything will fall into place.”
Booker, Paul, and head coach Monty Williams all expressed concern about the seriousness and sensitivity of the charges against Sarver, but stressed the need of patience while the league’s investigation proceeds.
Before the game, Williams remarked, “As someone who is the guardian of a program, I find all of these things that are being spoken serious in nature.” “Coming out and expressing yourself requires bravery. But I’m also aware that there are two sides to this issue…. We’ll have to wait and see how clear the facts turn out to be.”
Williams is in his third season with the Suns, having guided them to the NBA Finals last season. He emphasized that all of the charges in the piece occurred before he joined the organization in 2019.
“I wouldn’t be in this position if any of that occurred while I was here,” Williams added. “The league is conducting an inquiry, and once it is completed, we will know more clearly.”
Booker, a seven-year veteran who has played for the Suns his whole career, is the team’s longest-tenured active player. He claims he has never observed Sarver engage in racism or misogyny.
“I haven’t observed that in my seven years here,” Booker added, “but that doesn’t make me indifferent to the matter.” “I believe the NBA has begun an inquiry and will conduct its due diligence in establishing facts rather than relying on ‘he said, she said.’ ‘I’m certain the NBA is in excellent hands and will conduct thorough inquiry to discover the facts.’”
Former Suns coach Earl Watson said that Sarver used the N-word repeatedly following a defeat to the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 30, 2016, despite Watson’s vehement objections. Sarver said Watson created “an unprofessional and hostile climate in our workplace” in a statement on Thursday, calling him “obviously not a reputable source.”
On the other hand, Booker backed Watson’s character on Thursday night. When asked whether he thought Watson was believable, Booker said, “What’s your name, Earl? Yeah. That’s who I’m talking about.”
This is the second time in Paul’s career that the owner of a team he played for has become the center of attention. Following the release of tapes of racist statements made by former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the NBA banned him for life and forced him to sell the franchise in 2014.
Paul said, “I feel that circumstances are different.” “During the time when everything occurred, we coped with it. I believe that, right now, we aren’t indifferent to anything that was said or whatever, but we don’t know all the circumstances, as Book said. So the NBA will do its investigation, and all of us on our team will continue to play and perform our jobs throughout that time.”
While avoiding getting caught up in the issue, Paul emphasized the significance of the Suns being “locked in” and “playing for one another.”
“In my time in the league, I’ve been through a couple scenarios,” Paul remarked. “The powers that be are investigating it. They conduct their investigations and all, but I believe the most important thing I’ve learned over the years is that we need to speak as a team. It’s not about what other people are saying or asking you to do or what you should do. It’s about how we feel as a group, as a unit, as coaching staff, and as individuals inside the company.”
Booker said that the Suns would follow Williams’ direction, describing Williams as the “ideal individual” to lead the club through the upheaval.
“He’s the greatest at it,” Booker said of handling situations, maintaining control of the room, and keeping everybody focused on the task at hand. “That is exactly what he has done with our group. We’ve discussed it as a group. Everything he says has an effect on you. We’ll remain by his side. We’ll continue to work hard for him and win basketball games.”
Brian Windhorst of ESPN contributed to this story.
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