How fans are reacting to Robert Sarver starting sale of Phoenix Suns and Mercury

·3 min read

Watch: Phoenix Suns fan pop champagne to celebrate Sarver selling team originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

It took seven days longer than most basketball fans wanted but the NBA's Phoenix Suns and WNBA's Phoenix Mercury are going on sale.

That result had Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver trending on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon -- a few hours removed from Sarver's commitment to make the franchises available to those interested in making bids.

Sarver’s decision to sell has resulted in mostly positive emotions amongst basketball fans online. Phoenix fans are elated – one going as far to drive down to Footprint Center where the teams play to pop champagne and celebrate the news and looming sale.

And yet, seven days removed from the league’s decision to fine Sarver $10 million and suspend him for the 2022-23 NBA season, many are still frustrated by his words:

Many have responded with admiration for four-time NBA Finals MVP LeBron James opinion on the matter

After purchasing both basketball teams in 2004, Sarver was held accountable by the NBA and WNBA when an investigation detected racist and sexist workplace misconduct. As punishment by the leagues, Sarver received a fine of $10 million and was given a one-year suspension.

Sarver explained his hopes for forgiveness and atonement, as a man of faith, on Wednesday when he announced his decision to sell. 

“I expected that the commissioner’s one-year suspension would provide the time for me to focus, make amends and remove my personal controversy from the teams that I and so many fans love,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

“But in our current unforgiving climate, it has become painfully clear that that is no longer possible – that whatever good I have done, or could still do, is outweighed by the things I have said in the past,” he added. “For those reasons, I am beginning the process of seeking buyers for the Suns and Mercury.”

Claiming he does not want to be a distraction to the two teams, the people who work for the franchise, as well as the fans around the world, he defines his decision as “the best course of action for everyone.”