Report: Ex-Disney CEO Bob Iger interested in purchasing Phoenix Suns
Front Office Sports is reporting former Disney CEO Bob Iger is interested in buying the Phoenix Suns.
The report comes as the NBA is investigating Robert Sarver after ESPN reported allegations of racism and misogyny by the majority team owner that created a "toxic" environment within the organization. Sarver has strongly denied the allegations and has said he welcomed the NBA investigation.
Having been a CEO at Disney since 2005, Iger stepped down from that role in 2020, but stayed on as executive chairman.
The 70-year-old will exit from Disney at the end of this year. Iger considered running for President of the United States in the 2016 election.
Jahm Najafi is the top minority owner of the NBA franchise as Sarver owns about 35% of the Suns. The Suns vice chairman called the allegations 'unacceptable" in a statement after the ESPN article posted.
"The conduct he is alleged to have committed has stunned and saddened me and is unacceptable," said Jahm in a statement. "The well-being and safety of every Suns employee, player, coach and stakeholder is first and foremost our priority. My sincerest sympathy goes out to all whose lives and professions have been impacted. I am personally committed to helping eradicate any form of racism, sexism, and bias, which is unacceptable anywhere in our society."
The NBA launched an investigation that should continue over the next few months. The league called upon Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in November to investigate.
The law firm out of New York City conducted the investigation of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in 2014 and the Dallas Mavericks in 2018.
The Mavs probe started after Sports Illustrated's story on allegations of sexual harassment in the organization's workplace posted Feb. 20, 2018.
The NBA released the findings of the investigation Sept. 19, 2018.
Based on that time frame, the Sarver investigation could last through the regular season and deep into the playoffs. The Suns have started this season 17-3 after reaching the finals last season as they were on a 16-game win streak going into Tuesday night's game against the Golden State Warriors (18-2) at Footprint Center.
Looking at the possibility of losing ownership of a team, NBA Constitution bylaws state "Membership of a Member or the interest of any Owner may be terminated by a vote of three fourths (3/4 or 75%) of the Board of Governors" for a number of violations.
Here's another that could apply to Sarver's allegations:
"Fail or refuse to fulfill its contractual obligations to the Association, its Members, Players, or any other third party in such a way as to affect the Association or its Members adversely."
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million after the investigation into racist comments Sterling made over the phone to his ex-girlfriend, V. Stiviano.
Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bought the Clippers for $2 billion.
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