Why didn’t the NBA consider stripping Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns franchise?

The news of Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver‘s one-year suspension and a $10 million fine took everyone by surprise due to the racist and misogynistic practices promoted by the team’s top brass, and for the first time NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the case at a press conference.

What does Adam Silver think of Robert Sarver’s conduct?

NBA bans Suns owner Sarver 1 year, fine him US$10M after probe

“I was in disbelief to a certain extent about what I learned that had transpired over the last 18 years in the Suns organization,” Silver said. “I don’t have the right to take away his team, I don’t want to rest on that legal point because, of course, there could be a process to take away someone’s team in this league it’s very involved and I ultimately made the decision that it didn’t rise to that level.”

The Suns were the best team on record last regular season and have missed out on the Larry O’Brien Trophy in recent years, yet the investigation detailed unacceptable behavior, which included the use of the “n-word” on at least five occasions, plus a series of sexist comments about the physical appearance of their female employees and women from other teams, as well as inappropriate physical conduct to their male employees.

Why was Sarver’s punishment decision made?

“The statements and conduct described in the findings of the independent investigation are troubling and disappointing,” Silver said. “We believe the outcome is the right one, taking into account all the facts, circumstances, and context brought to light by the comprehensive investigation of this 18-year period and our commitment to upholding proper standards in NBA workplaces.”

Finally, Silver was asked about why the team was not considered for removal as was done at the time with then Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and the Commissioner said the context is different and also had to do with Sarver’s attitude of improving his conduct during the investigations.