Earlier this week, reports emerged that Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was potentially threatening to move the franchise away from the city if Phoenix would not approve arena renovations. With haste, Sarver was lambasted across the sports (and political) world when this came to light and, on Wednesday, there was even pushback as part of a Phoenix City Council meeting (h/t Deadspin).
Sarver, ostensibly aware of the reaction, took to the Suns’ official Twitter account on Thursday evening and released a video statement.
“First and foremost, the Phoenix Suns are not leaving Phoenix,” Sarver said as the headliner. “I am 100 percent committed, and have been for the last four years, to find a solution to keep them in downtown Phoenix where they belong.”
Within the confines of the statement, Sarver also discussed his goal of renovation and restoration to Talking Stick Resort Arena, saying he believes it can be a “world-class facility,” and the owner also referenced the importance of a new practice facility for both the Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. On the surface, Sarver would hardly be alone among NBA owners in pushing for similar upgrades but, of course, the backdrop of his potential threats and the use of Seattle and Las Vegas as leverage makes this a different situation.
This is the kind of damage control that Sarver almost certainly needed to do and, frankly, it is noteworthy that he went as far as to definitively say that the Suns are staying put. Still, this could have been avoided and, for an owner already battling the notion that he isn’t among the league’s elite, the overall situation won’t help. Plus it’s important that, you know, Sarver is telling the truth, because if this is just an attempt to save face and he does try to move the team down the road, this video could blow up in his face.