The Phoenix Suns issued a statement on Friday to formally deny that they have made threats to City of Phoenix officials to relocate the team if their demands were not met.
The statement came on the heels of a 48-hour period in which The Arizona Republic reported that Suns owner Robert Sarver had warned of moving the team to Seattle or Las Vegas if the City of Phoenix were to not pass a renovation deal that the two sides have been discussing.
The next day, Thursday, the Republic walked back that report, writing, “The council member on Thursday clarified the [quote about relocating], saying that Sarver didn’t mention Seattle or Las Vegas by name during their conversation but that he did make it clear the team wants to leave if the deal is not approved.”
The Suns’ statement included text not attributed to any one person, as well as this quote from Suns CEO Jason Rowley:
“As I have stated publicly during the 48 hours since the original story broke, neither Robert nor anyone else within the Suns organization has threatened City officials with relocating the Suns out of state during the course of our renovation discussions. Further, we have not engaged in any discussions with Seattle, Las Vegas or any other city for that matter regarding a potential relocation of the Suns. To the contrary, we have been and remain steadfastly committed and solely focused on reaching an agreement that will keep the team in downtown Phoenix where it belongs.”
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The statement began by stating, “Phoenix Suns President & CEO Jason Rowley issued the statement below in response to last night’s Arizona Republic article which corrected a Dec. 12 Arizona Republic Article which falsely reported that Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver had threatened City of Phoenix officials with relocating the Phoenix Suns to Seattle or Last Vegas.”
Later on in the statement, Rowley added regret that the situation has unfolded as it has.
“It is unfortunate that our loyal and dedicated employees, fans and partners have had to endure the rampant speculation and uncertainty that was created by this inaccurate story, and it is disappointing that no one at the Suns was contacted for comment before the original story was published.
“However, I appreciate that the record has now been set straight, and we look forward to the public discussion ahead and continuing to work with the City to keep the Suns in our downtown home for years to come.”
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