Report: Suns CEO Jason Rowley resigns in wake of misconduct scandal that led to owner Robert Sarver's ouster
Phoenix Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley has resigned in the aftermath of the misconduct scandal that led to the ouster of team owner Robert Sarver, ESPN's Baxter Holmes reports.
Rowley's resignation on Monday arrives weeks after the sale of the franchise from Sarver to a group led by Mat Ishbia. ESPN cited a leaked email to staff from interim Suns governor Sam Garvin, who oversaw the franchise during the ownership transition to Ishbia's group.
"I wanted to let you know that Jason Rowley made the decision to leave the organization," Garvin wrote, per ESPN. "After almost 15 years of hard work and dedicated service, Jason felt that the transition in ownership created ideal timing to close this chapter of his professional journey and pursue new opportunities."
NBA owners approved Ishbia's purchase Monday night.
The NBA initially suspended Sarver in September after investigation revealed repeated allegations of misconduct by Sarver, including use of the 'N' word, comments on female employee's bodies and sexual orientation and pulling down a male employee's shorts in front of his co-workers.
A report by Holmes in December revealed that misconduct allegations extended to Rowley and other Suns executives. Rowley denied the allegations in January and vowed to "never quit on the Suns." He said through a team statement that the ESPN report revealing the allegations against him "misrepresented me and others."
"I confided in them that the story misrepresented me and others," Rowley's Jan. 10 statement reads. "Also, given that the team is going through a period of ownership transition, I communicated that while I do not know my ultimate fate with new ownership, I will never quit on this team and the people who make up this great organization."
Rowley was accused in the ESPN report of repeatedly berating and intimidating female Suns staff members and security guards. He also pushed to have an employee fired while she was on maternity leave, according to the report. Rowley previously became incensed with the woman after she complained about the franchise's reporting structure, per the report. After that incident, she reportedly had trouble getting her maternity leave approved and was ultimately fired shortly after her return, with Rowley among a group of male executives calling for her dismissal.
It's not clear who will take over Rowley's former role.