The Phoenix Suns issued a preemptive denial Friday to unpublished accusations of misconduct by team owner Robert Sarver.
“We understand that ESPN is considering publishing a proposed story that makes completely baseless claims against the Suns Legacy Partners, LLC organization concerning a variety of topics,” the statement said.
The denial was issued before the Suns played the Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center. At tip-off, no story had been published.
In an extensive statement, Sarver said any accusations of discrimination are untrue.
“First and foremost, I reject any insinuation of personal or organizational racism or gender discrimination. I despise language that disrespects any individuals, regardless of race, gender, preference, or choice,” he said. “Such language has no place in business or at home in what I consider Suns and Mercury families. I am proud of our record of diversity and inclusion on both teams — whether on the court or in the front office.”
Suns general manager James Jones issued a statement saying, “None of what’s been said describes the Robert Sarver I know, respect and like — it just doesn’t.”
Suns coach Monty Williams mostly declined to comment pregame, instead attempting to focus on the impending game.
“I’m not going to talk about any of that,” Williams said. “And nothing will invade or erode our culture. That’s something that we’ve said from Day 1. Wins, losses. We get to play basketball, we get to hoop. And that’s not going to change.”