The server engaged in “instances of inequitable behavior toward female employees,” including “sexist comments” and inappropriate comments about the employees’ appearance.
Rowley told employees it was important to “recognize some wrongdoing” in the past and apologized to current or former employees who had an “unpleasant experience” here.
“Leadership starts at the top,” he said.
Server’s impending absence gave the team “clarity” and questions about Server’s role moving forward — the “elephant in the room” — were behind the team, Rowley said.
But Rowley also answered pointed questions from employees earlier submitted by the group’s HR department. The first question centers on whether leaders of organizations who hold certain employees guilty of contributing to years of workplace misconduct can be punished.
Rowley, who has been with the Suns since 2007-08, said the NBA’s investigation report, without specifying specifics, said the items exist and will reach “appropriate action” where appropriate.
Rowley addressed the question of what steps the organization is taking to ensure that there are more women, people of color and women of color in specific leadership positions. Rowley cited recent efforts by the organization and said the hiring of a “diversity, equity and inclusion leader” will help further.
Rowley also addressed a question allegedly submitted by several employees about why the organization didn’t specifically address the allegations after quickly standing by the server when the allegations were first mentioned.
Rowley referred to the committee’s soon-to-be-released report, which was shared with staff before it was released to the public. Addressing them today, Executive Committee member Dham said that past incidents were “not in line with our values” and that they should take steps to rectify the same.
In November 2021, the NBA commissioned its investigation in the wake of an ESPN story detailing allegations of racism and misogyny during Server’s 17 years as an owner.
In that story, several current and former employees told ESPN about the behavior of other members of the Suns’ leadership team they felt contributed to a toxic and sometimes hostile work environment. While no one said the server was involved in those incidents, many felt the server’s own behavior contributed to a culture that affected how some other managers in the company treated their employees.
On Wednesday, several current and former employees called for some leaders to be held accountable.
An employee who took part in the inquiry said: “I’m relieved, I’m happy, I’m empowered and I’m motivated to make sure that all the men in that organization who have perpetuated this culture continue to be there. It’s entrenched.”