The pressure is mounting on Suns owner Robert Sarver. After receiving a one-year suspension for making racist/misogynistic remarks, PayPal says it will drop its sponsorship of the NBA franchise should Sarver remain the owner of the team.
“PayPal’s sponsorship with the Suns is set to expire at the end of the current season,” said PayPal CEO Dan Schulman in a statement. “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 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 investigator into Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and have found his conduct unacceptable and in conflict with our values.”
PayPal is the jersey patch partner of the Suns. Their sponsorship began in 2018 and includes other teams owned by Sarver — the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA and Spanish soccer club Real Club Deportivo Mallorca.
Schulman added that PayPal will, “remain supportive of the team, its players and the experienced and diverse talent now leading the organization, including head coach Monty Williams, general manager James Jones …”
The statement from PayPal comes just a day after Suns vice chairman Jahm Najafi called for Sarver’s resignation in an open letter to their fans.
“In accordance with my commitment to helping eradicate any form of racism, sexism and bias, as Vice Chairman of the Phoenix Suns, I am calling for the resignation of Robert Sarver,” Najafi wrote in a statement.
The NBA announced the year-long ban for Sarver — along with a $10 million fine (the max allowed) — on Tuesday after the league conducted an investigation into Sarver’s workplace conduct.
The league’s probe found that Sarver used the N-word on multiple occasions and found “instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees.” Sarver also made “sex-related comments” and other inappropriate comments.
LeBron James and Chris Paul are among the NBA stars who have hammered the league for letting Sarver off easy.