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Report: NBA 'aware' of video showing Suns owner Robert Sarver making sexually explicit jokes

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A video of Suns team owner Robert Sarver making sexual jokes at a memorial 'roast' in April of 2020 is on the NBA's radar.

Sports Illustrated is reporting the league is "aware" of the video, as the NBA has launched an investigation into allegations of racism and misogyny aimed at Sarver and the Suns organization detailed in an ESPN story last week.

The story included allegations of Sarver creating a toxic environment by making racist and sexually inappropriate remarks.

SI said the Suns and Sarver declined comment. Sarver has denied allegations made in the ESPN story.

"It is just not who I am, and it is directly contrary to the values at the center of the Suns organization," Sarver said in an Q&A with The Republic. "I am devastated that these false attacks are what our fans will associate with this organization that I love."

Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver released a statement, saying he's "wholly shocked" by the accusations and strongly denying them.
Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver released a statement, saying he's "wholly shocked" by the accusations and strongly denying them.

The team owner since 2004, Sarver was one of the eulogizers at the memorial 'roast' for Dick Heckmann, a minority owner of the Suns and Phoenix Mercury franchises. Heckmann, 76, died in October 2020 of complications from a degenerative condition similar to Parkinson’s disease.

Heckmann's widow, Wendy, followed her late husband's wishes by having a roast at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Sarver not only attended it in April, but made several sexually explicit comments during his remarks, including one about Heckmann's sons.

"We just bought the team in June of 2004," said Sarver as SI provides a full transcript of his comments at the roast. "My biggest concerns were ticket sales, sponsorship revenue, trying to sign some players, getting a winning record—what I really know is my biggest concern was the Heckmann boys were f--king their way through the cheerleading team.”

Sarver also made reference to two-time MVP Steve Nash when talking about Heckmann.

“Dick was chasing everything that moved in Scottsdale," Sarver said. "And speaking of — someone said he left his DNA. He did leave his DNA in Steve Nash's socks somewhere in the locker room.”

On Tuesday, Heckmann’s widow told SI Sarver’s remarks didn't offend her and were keeping with the spirit of the event.

“It was a roast—that’s what my husband wanted,” Wendy Heckmann told SI. “He wanted everybody to laugh at his expense, basically, and tell funny stories, and that’s what everybody did.”

SI posted the video along with a full transcript of the eulogy. Among the remarks made by Sarver:

"I figured this season, he had something to do with this season. We just had too many things go our way. I mean, every time we’re playing someone, the other team’s injured and this happening and we're setting records in three-point shots. And, he’s up there somewhere with his orange hat, watching the games and probably mother f--king with Kobe Bryant up there somewhere."

Sarver ended the eulogy on a more serious note, talking about how Heckmann was proud of his children and grandchildren, while also talking about Heckmann at the end of his life.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: NBA 'aware' of Suns owner Robert Sarver video, per report