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Phoenix Suns’ Sam Garvin granted authority to act as interim governor during Robert Sarver’s suspension, sources say

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Phoenix Suns vice chairman and minority owner Sam Garvin has been authorized by NBA commissioner Adam Silver to act with the authority of the team’s interim governor during majority owner Robert Sarver’s suspension, sources tell ESPN.

Silver authorized Garvin’s possession of that authority Wednesday night, and Garvin will continue to hold that authority until he is officially approved by the commissioner as interim governor, sources said.

Sarver, who also is the majority owner of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, was suspended one year and fined $10 million Tuesday after an investigation found that he used the N-word at least five times “when recounting the statements of others.”

Sarver also was involved in “instances of inequitable conduct toward female employees,” including “sex-related comments” and inappropriate comments on employees’ appearances.

Garvin became the Suns’ alternate governor in 2007 and has been a minority owner since 2004, when Sarver led a group to buy the team for a then-record $401 million.

The NBA commissioned the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to conduct the investigation after ESPN published a story in November 2021 detailing allegations of racism and misogyny during Sarver’s 17 years as owner.

After ESPN’s 2021 story, Garvin was one of 13 minority owners who signed a statement in support of Sarver.

Sources previously told ESPN that Sarver would be working with the NBA to appoint an interim governor.

While the NBA stated that he “cooperated fully with the investigative process,” league sources told ESPN that Sarver was unaccepting of the idea that he deserved a one-year suspension and a $10 million fine for his behavior. The punitive part of the process became largely acrimonious, sources said.

On Thursday, meanwhile, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and some of the city’s councilmembers released a statement saying they were “appalled by the actions” that were detailed in the Sarver report.

“It is unacceptable for the organization’s leadership to be associated in any way with the despicable actions detailed in the report,” that statement said. “We are equally concerned about a culture that would enable these actions to occur time and again, with — at most — ineffective disciplinary action.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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