Berliner TageBlatt - PayPal won't renew NBA Suns sponsor deal if Sarver stays

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PayPal won't renew NBA Suns sponsor deal if Sarver stays
PayPal won't renew NBA Suns sponsor deal if Sarver stays / Foto: © AFP

PayPal won't renew NBA Suns sponsor deal if Sarver stays

PayPal president Dan Schulman said Friday the company will not renew its sponsorship of the NBA's Phoenix Suns if embattled owner Robert Sarver remains with the club after a one-year ban.


Sarver was fined $10 million and issued a one-year suspension by the NBA on Tuesday for racist and misogynist remarks within a harsh workplace environment that at times included bullying.

"We have reviewed the report of the NBA league's independent investigation into Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver and have found his conduct unacceptable and in conflict with our values," Schulman said in a statement.

NBA stars LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chris Paul of the Suns said the punishments were not enough of a penalty for Sarver's actions while NBA commissioner said he felt he could not remove Sarver as team owner, a move made in 2014 against former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Schulman said his team would not remain linked with the Suns if Sarver returned after the suspension.

"PayPal's sponsorship with the Suns is set to expire at the end of the current season," Schulman said.

"In light of the findings of the NBA's investigation, we will not renew our sponsorship should Robert Sarver remain involved with the Suns organization after serving his suspension."

Schulman made it clear that PayPal, which has a jersey patch on the uniforms of Suns players, was open to returning if Sarver was no longer involved with the club.

"While we strongly reject the conduct of Robert Sarver, we remain supportive of the team, its players and the experienced and diverse talent now leading the organization," Schulman said.

The PayPal deal was worth $3 million to the Suns last season, ESPN reported.

PayPal's overall sponsorship deal expiring next year also includes other teams Sarver owns, the Women's NBA's Phoenix Mercury and Spanish football side Real Club Deportivo Mallorca of La Liga.

The PayPal threat follows a call by Suns vice chairman Jahm Najafi, the second-largest shareholder in the Suns ownership group, for Sarver to resign.