Various former employees of the Phoenix Suns have reportedly received messages from Penny Sarver, the wife of Suns majority owner Robert Sarver.
The messages were sent over the weekend as the scandal involving the Suns‘ workplace culture grows in magnitude.
At least three former employees received messages, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.
Two of the messages were sent via Instagram, while the third was sent as a regular text message.
All three ex-employees told ESPN they felt that the intent of the messages was to intimidate them.
After the now-infamous ESPN report came out last week, the NBA launched its own investigation regarding Robert Sarver and the alleged incidents that have taken place in the Suns’ workplace over his 17-year tenure as owner.
The report detailed numerous allegations of racism, misogyny, and what was described as a “toxic and sometimes hostile” workplace under Sarver.
In the same report, Sarver was accused of using the N-word on multiple occasions, discussing sexually explicit activities or topics in the office, and being very hostile and demeaning to his coaching staff at times.
It is alleged that Sarver once instructed his players to “take out” former eight-time All-Star Vince Carter during a game.
Sarver has denied these allegations prior to the ESPN story being published.
Sarver’s wife has admitted and confirmed to ESPN that she did send messages to those former employees but that calling her texts 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.”
According to ESPN, all three employees 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 messages reportedly continued with “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.”
One employee said the message they received 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.”