Three former Phoenix Suns employees have received messages from Penny Sarver, wife of Robert Sarver, the team’s majority owner.
Two messages came from the @pennsar Instagram account and another was a text from a number belonging to Penny Sarver.
These former employees say they view the messages as an attempt to intimidate them. The NBA has launched an investigation into Sarver and the Suns after ESPN published a story based on interviews with more than 70 current and former Suns employees who described a sometimes toxic and hostile workplace during Sarver’s 17-year tenure in Phoenix.
When asked for comment, Penny Sarver confirmed she had sent the messages and said she was looking forward to the NBA’s investigation.
“Over the weekend I decided to reach out to a few people on my own to try and set the record straight and to share how disappointed and hurt I am by the lies that have been circulating about my husband and The Suns organization. says Penny Sarver. said. “I shared the betrayal I felt and touched some of the pain we go through as a family.
“Any suggestion that I was trying to ‘intimidate’ someone is as foolish as it is wrong and outrageous.”
ESPN has reviewed the messages, each of which the former employees confirmed to have received.
“This is Penny Sarver,” a message began. “I know many bridges have been burned between you and Robert and you are very bitter. I want to remind you that real lives are at stake here.”
The post later added: “Please put your hatred aside and realize how much pain you are causing by spreading lies and fabrication. Is your time in the spotlight so important? If something happens to one of my children, I will kill you and holding Earl Watson. personally responsible. Think about your own child for a moment and imagine the roles have been reversed.”
Watson is a former Suns head coach who told ESPN that Sarver’s language and behavior encouraged a toxic workplace.
“I don’t know how to interpret it other than as a threat,” said a former employee of the message they received.
A second former employee received a message that started with: “I am so terribly saddened that you are saying such untrue things about my husband. Your interpretation of what happened is so far from the truth. You are destroying my families [sic] lives. Thanks for that.”
A third former employee said their message began: “You are such a liar. In your attempt to destroy my husband with… [your] lies – you destroyed my family and children.”
One of the staff members said they were alarmed by the news but would not be intimidated and were even more encouraged to talk to investigators about their experiences at the Suns under Robert Sarver.