PayPal said Friday that the company will no longer sponsor the Phoenix Suns if owner Robert Sarver remains part of the franchise when his suspension ends.
And the National Basketball Players Association later made its stance clear, with executive director Tamika Tremaglio telling ESPN NBA players want Sarver banned for life.
PayPal said its current partnership agreement with the Suns will end after the upcoming 2022-2023 season, meaning it will expire during Sarver’s one-year suspension from the NBA. Sarver was suspended this week, plus a $10 million fine, after an investigation revealed a pattern of lewd, misogynistic and racist statements and behavior during his 18 years as the owner of the Suns.
In a statement, PayPal president and CEO Dan Schulman pointed to his company’s “strong track record in fighting racism, sexism and all forms of discrimination” and said Sarver’s behavior was “unacceptable and contrary to our values.” is.
“In light of the findings of the NBA investigation, we will not renew our sponsorship if Robert Sarver remains involved with the Suns organization after his suspension,” Schulman said.
Schulman said PayPal will continue to support the team, its players “and the experienced and diverse talent that now leads the organization,” including coach Monty Williams, general manager James Jones, assistant general manager Morgan Cato and senior vice president of people. and culture Kim Corbitt.
Williams, Jones, Cato and Corbitt are black. The investigation into Sarver found that he “repeated or claimed to repeat the N-word at least five times during his tenure with the Suns,” although it noted that the independent attorneys hired by the NBA to conduct the investigation,” not have discovered that Sarver used this racially insensitive language with the intent to humiliate or denigrate”.
PayPal’s statement came a day after Sun’s vice chairman Jahm Najafi called on Sarver to resign, saying there should be “zero tolerance” for lewd, misogynistic and racist behavior in every workplace. Some players, including Suns guard Chris Paul – a former president of the National Basketball Players Association – and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, have also said the NBA sanctions against Sarver do not go far enough.
Those statements from Paul and James came Wednesday, hours after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver laid out some of his reasons for deciding on a suspension and that the fine was the appropriate sanction. On Friday, Tremaglio told ESPN that the union “absolutely” wants Sarver removed from the competition.
“While we understand that there has been a thorough investigation and we are very pleased that the NBA has been able to follow through because that is clearly something we want to see happen, we also want to make it very clear that we don’t want him back in. a position where he will influence our players and those our players serve on a daily basis,” Tremaglio said in a televised interview.
PayPal is based in San Jose, California. The digital payments technology platform and company has also partnered with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a Spanish soccer team, both owned by Sarver.
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