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PayPal Says It Won’t Work With Phoenix Suns If Robert Sarver Keeps The Team

PayPal Says It Won’t Work With Phoenix Suns If Robert Sarver Keeps The Team

Topline

PayPal said Friday it won’t renew its sponsorship agreement with the Phoenix Suns if the team’s controversial owner Robert Sarver doesn’t resign, in the most high-profile financial fallout of an NBA probe released earlier this week that found Sarver engaged in racist and misogynist behavior, but allowed Sarver to keep the team after serving a one-year suspension.

PayPal has been the Suns’ jersey sponsor since 2018.

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Key Facts

PayPal will not work with the Suns if Sarver “remains involved” with the team after his one-year suspension is up, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement, saying the company “strongly reject[s] the conduct of Robert Sarver.”

PayPal has been the Suns’ jersey patch sponsor since 2018, an agreement that was set to expire after the 2022-23 season.

The move comes amid increasing calls for Sarver to never return to power, either by a forced sale or resignation, including from the Suns’ second-largest stakeholder and vice chairman Jahm Najafi, who called for Sarver to step down Thursday.

Sarver said in a statement released by the team Tuesday he takes “full responsibility for what I have done” though he disagreed with “some of the particulars of the NBA’s report.”

Key Background

The terms of the Suns’ deal with PayPal are unknown, but jersey patch sponsors typically pay NBA teams between $5 million and $20 million per season. Findings from a 10-month NBA investigation into Sarver released Tuesday found that he said the N-word at least five times, bullied employees and made inappropriate and sexually charged comments to and about female employees. The league fined Sarver $10 million and barred him from all team activities for 12 months. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver defended the league’s punishment Wednesday, saying the league is unable to punish owners further, despite the NBA banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life in 2014 for a similar racist incident. Several of the NBA’s most prominent players said the NBA’s sanctions failed to hold Sarver accountable, including Suns star Chris Paul and LeBron James.

Further Reading

‘This Isn’t Right’: LeBron, NBA Figures Express Disappointment In Robert Sarver Punishment (Forbes)

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