Phoenix Suns jersey sponsor PayPal issued a warning that it will cut relations with the team if owner Robert Sarver continued to be involved with it after serving a one-year suspension.
Following an inquiry, it was discovered that Sarver had repeatedly used the N-word and made inappropriate comments to female employees. He was also fined $10 million and suspended from the league.
Major team sponsor PayPal is requesting that the team impose further sanctions in addition to the one-year suspension. In 2018, PayPal and the Suns agreed to a sponsorship agreement that saw the fintech company’s payment methods integrated into the team’s arena and ticket sales in addition to the jersey patch.
PayPal CEO Dan Schulman stated in a statement issued on Friday that “PayPal’s sponsorship with the Suns is set to expire at the end of the current season.” If Robert Sarver continues to be a part of the Suns organisation after serving his ban, we will not renew our sponsorship in light of the findings of the NBA’s inquiry.
The $10 million fine Sarver must pay is the maximum permitted per NBA bylaws, but the league has previously handed out penalties that were more severe. After his racial remark came to light, former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling received a lifetime suspension from the league. He was compelled to sell the team by the punishment.
PayPal, along with Chris Paul of the Suns, other NBA players, and the players’ association, believe Sarver’s sentence is insufficient.
In a tweet on Thursday, Paul stated, “I am of the opinion that the sanctions went short in properly addressing what we can all agree was horrible behaviour. “My heart goes out to everyone who was impacted,”
The NBA Players Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio remarked that Mr. Sarver “should never have a leadership position inside our league again” after Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James declared on Wednesday that the “league clearly got this wrong.”
The Suns and its key sponsors were contacted by CNBC for comment.