PayPal threatens to break off partnership with Phoenix Suns if owner Sarver returns

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LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 30: Owner Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns interviews after Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on June 30, 2021 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.

Andrew D. Bernstein | National Basketball Federation | Getty Images

PayPal, the shirt sponsor of the Phoenix Suns, warned it would cut ties with the team if owner Robert Sarver remains associated with the organization after his one-year suspension.

Sarver was suspended from the competition and fined $10 million after an investigation found he made inappropriate comments to female employees and repeated the N-word on multiple occasions.

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PayPal, a major sponsor of the team, is asking the team to take disciplinary action after the one-year suspension. PayPal and the Suns signed a sponsorship deal in 2018 that included the jersey patch and saw the fintech company’s payment options integrated into the team’s arena and ticket sales.

“PayPal’s sponsorship with the Suns will expire at the end of the current season,” CEO Dan Schulman said in a statement released Friday. “In light of the findings of the NBA investigation, we will not renew our sponsorship if Robert Sarver remains involved with the Suns organization after his suspension.”

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Sarver’s $10 million fine is the highest allowed under NBA law, but the league has handed out more significant suspensions in the past. Former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, was banned from the competition for life after his racist comment surfaced. The suspension forced him to sell the team.

PayPal joins multiple NBA players and the players’ association in saying Sarver’s punishment doesn’t go far enough, including Suns star Chris Paul.

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“I believe the sanctions failed to address what we can all say was horrendous behavior,” Paul wrote in a tweet on Thursday. “My heart goes out to all those affected.”

His comments came after Lebron James, the Los Angeles Lakers star, said on Wednesday that the “league absolutely misunderstood this,” and Tamika Tremaglio, the NBA Players Association’s executive director, said that “Mr. Sarver has never held a leadership position.” within our league. again.”

TBEN reached out to the Suns and its major sponsors for comment.