I’ve been simmering for a few days about this whole Suns fiasco. If you haven’t been paying attention, Phoenix Suns owner, Robert Sarver, was suspended for one year and fined $10 million dollars for incidents that took place within the Suns offices over an 18-year period. The National Basketball Association recently concluded a ten-month investigation into Sarver and concluded that he had done several things that warranted this punishment.
You can read up on the gory details if you so choose, but what they found indicated, at best, that he is the type of person who feels like he can say and do whatever he likes, regardless of the comfort or feelings of those around him. At worst, he is a misogynistic asshole with some antiquated ideas about what you can and cannot say, especially with what I will call (and everyone else also calls) the “n-word.” I was taught from a young age that this was not a word I should ever use. Considering Sarver is only about eight years older than I am, he should know this, too.
As I wrestled with this news, though, I realized that it is not really about him being a dickwad.
For me, it is more about the fact that he has been a pretty terrible owner for the Suns, and I was truly hoping the NBA would kick him out of the league. I know this is not something they can really do, but I’d like to see him gone. I would like to see him as just a name on the Suns’ Wikipedia page talked about in past tense.
Some of you reading this might caution me and say, “be careful what you wish for.” I get that. The Suns could end up with a worse owner. An argument could be made that over the last three or four years, he has been a much better owner. The team has certainly been better than they were when he was really, by all accounts, much more meddlesome. He has gained, from what I read, at least some restraint and left basketball decisions up the ‘experts.’
This comes with a big but, though. He is now a confirmed asshole. Sure, the NBA acted like a parent (and not a very good one) of a bratty six-year-old in this situation and grounded him for a year, but he did get punished. Not enough punishment, if you ask me, but that is coming from another place of realization for me.
I love the Suns and always have. Even in the dark years, I still rooted for them and paid attention. I want this team to be a team I can respect and feel good about being a fan of when I wear their t-shirts or talk basketball with friends. In the past, they’ve had a lot of what I would consider to be good guys on and around the team. Yes, I do remember the cocaine years in the 80s. I remember how my favorite player, Walter Davis, was shipped off to Denver in a trade because he was supposedly snorting enough blow to keep half of Phoenix high for a month, but still. I do love my team.
As I’ve written here before, it is getting harder and harder for me to care much about professional sports. Getting rid of Sarver would, at very least, seem like a win for the moment. I don’t have a ton of optimism for the Suns right now on the court. They are going to be good, yes, and make the playoffs, but they have not addressed some of the glaring weaknesses that New Orleans and Dallas completely exposed in last year’s playoffs. I see many of their counterparts in the Western Conference getting better and the Suns are treading water. This is not a good thing.
As a realist when it comes to my teams, I can say that without a few upgrades to the roster, I don’t see them winning another 64 games next year. I don’t think they will win 54 and with this Sarver nonsense, do good players with a semblance of a conscience want to come here now? Only time will tell. I don’t know if it is right for me to bummed that he didn’t get shown the door, but I do know that what he did casts a bad light on all of us who support the team.
There is the argument about whether you should like the art of a bad person. Admittedly, I do like music and films made by several of Sarver’s fellow assholes. In the past, I have supported the Cardinals even though the Bidwill family has often proved themselves to be more motivated by the money they are making than the product they put on the field. The current Cardinals will not win more than six games this year, in my opinion, and it’s mainly because of them being very poorly managed.
I will not spend a dollar on the Diamondbacks, but I do still get intrigued by what they are doing. I wish I could quit them, but I check the stats every day and even watched some of a game the other night. I was so ashamed. If you are not up to speed on this from previous posts, I have given up on them because of the political leanings of their owner, Ken Kendrick. He supported that nut job from Colorado, Lauren Boebert.
In the end, I don’t think much will happen here in Phoenix with Sarver and his team. They will not win a championship this year, but each game will be packed with fans spending money and making his investment grow enough to cover his fine quite easily. He will come back next year and proclaim he is a better guy and maybe he will be. No players or sponsors will speak out and it will all be status quo. By mid-December, it will be a non-story in the news, if it even takes that long.
For now, I will vote with my wallet and not support the team with any of my money. It’s what I can do. I’ll still root for them, but the longer he is the owner, the less I will care until the day comes when he is a multi-billionaire, and I am just a guy who used to watch a lot of basketball.
See you tomorrow.
Here I am, on my soapbox. This was from a few years ago. 2018, I think.