PayPal won’t renew Phoenix Suns sponsorship should Sarver remain with organization, company says
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Three days after the NBA announced the suspension of Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver, PayPal’s CEO has released a statement regarding its future with the Suns.
On Friday, PayPal CEO and President Dan Schulman said that while the company is supportive of the team, it will not renew its sponsorship with the Suns when it expires at the end of the upcoming season, should Sarver remain with the organization following his suspension.
The NBA suspended Sarver for one year and fined him $10 million after a nearly year-long investigation into workplace misconduct, including allegations of racism, sexism, and creating a hostile work environment. Many have spoken out since, including Suns point guard Chris Paul, who has called for harsher punishment. Even the Suns’ largest minority owner and vice chairman is calling on Sarver to resign.
Below is the full statement from PayPal’s CEO:
Ed Olsen runs an ad agency and sports marketing company in Phoenix. He says he wouldn’t be surprised to see other advertisers leave the Suns to avoid any connection with Sarver. “I don’t think this is the last we’ve heard of it. I do believe other brands, other personalities, entities, will get involved in this and there’s going to be a great deal of pressure for Mr. Sarver to step down,” Olsen said.
Phoenix civil rights activist Pastor Warren Stewart won’t go so far as demanding Sarver to step down but says if enough people come out with allegations against Sarver, he won’t have much of a choice. “The community is making its voice heard loud and clear,” he said. “The fire is being turned up for him, so he’ll have to make a decision. Perhaps the NBA will reconsider and force him to give up the team.”
The Suns and PayPal announced a first-of-its-kind global partnership nearly four years ago and since then, its logo has appeared on the front left chest of Suns jerseys. As part of that partnership, PayPal was also added as a prominent payment option at sales terminals throughout the Footprint Center, where the Suns and Mercury play.
So far, other business partners of the team have not yet released statements.
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