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Several former Phoenix Suns employees reportedly said they have received messages from Penny Sarver, the wife of Suns majority owner Robert Sarver, over the weekend amid the massive scandal involving the organization and Robert Sarver.
Three former employees received messages, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes — two of which came from Penny Sarver’s Instagram account and a third from a text.
The ex-employees told ESPN they feel the messages are an attempt to intimidate them.
The NBA has launched an investigation into Robert Sarver after an ESPN report last week detailed numerous allegations of racism, misogyny and a “toxic and sometimes hostile” workplace in the Suns under Sarver during his nearly two decades leading the organization.
Among other things, Sarver was accused of using the N-word multiple times, discussing sexually explicit activities or topics in the office, meddling in on-court affairs, going on verbal tirades and even ordering his players to “take out” Vince Carter during a game. Sarver denied the allegations against him even before the ESPN story was released.
Penny Sarver confirmed to ESPN she sent the messages, but said that calling her actions intimidating “is as silly as it is wrong and outrageous.”
"Over the weekend, I decided on my own to reach out to a few people to try to set the record straight and to share how disappointed and hurt I am by the lies that are circulating about my husband and the Suns organization," Penny told ESPN. "I shared the betrayal that I felt and I touched on some of the pain that we are going through as a family.”
What did Penny Sarver tell the ex-employees?
According to ESPN, the three former employees all received similar messages from Penny Sarver.
"This is Penny Sarver," one message began. "I know a lot of bridges were burned between you and Robert and you are very bitter. I want to remind you that real lives are at stake here."
The message reportedly added: "Please put your hatred aside and realize the hurt you are causing by spreading lies and fabrications. Is your time in the spotlight that important? If something happens to one of my children, I will hold you and Earl Watson personally responsible. Think about your own child for a second and imagine the tables turned."
The employee who received one of the messages said they didn’t “know how to interpret it other than as a threat.” Another said they felt “even more emboldened to speak to investigators.”
“You are such a liar,” a different message began. “In your trying to destroy my husband with [your] lies — you have destroyed my family and children."