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Here's how the NBA's investigations of Donald Sterling and Robert Sarver differ

Let's take a look at some of the similarities and differences between the NBA investigations of Donald Sterling and Robert Sarver.

PHOENIX — The national spotlight is on Phoenix Suns majority owner Robert Sarver, one day after the NBA handed him a one-year suspension and $10 million fine. It all started with an ESPN report accusing Sarver of racism and sexism.

The scandal mirrors similar accusations made about former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. He was caught on tape in 2014 using a racial slur and was eventually forced to sell the team.

But there are drastic differences between Sarver and Sterling's investigations.
Here's some context for you.

After an NBA investigation into the ESPN report on Sarver interviewing 300-current and former employees, and combing through more 80,000 documents, league representatives confirmed many accusations.

They found Sarver used the n-word at least five times over the course of his 18-year ownership.

Investigators also found Sarver "made many sex-related comments in the workplace, made inappropriate comments about the physical appearance of female employees and other women, and on several occasions engaged in inappropriate physical conduct toward male employees."

However, the report found Sarver only used the racial slur "when recounting the statements of others" and made no finding that Sarver's actions had no "racial or gender-based" intention.

Reporters behind the original ESPN report said Sarver's accusers believe the punishment does not fit the misconduct.

Sarver released a statement shortly after the report, in part saying, "while I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA's report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees." He added, "these errors in judgment are not consistent with my personal philosophy or my values... I accept the consequences of the NBA's decision."

So here's where Sarver's actions stack up against former Clippers owner Donald Sterling's misconduct.

There's a stark difference between Sarver and Sterling's league tenure

Sterling bought the Clippers back in 1981, and over his 33 years at the helm, he faced multiple lawsuits for racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
However, it was only after the "hard evidence" of taped recordings catching him using a racial slur that the league took action.

In Sarver's case, again, the report found he used the n-word five times "when recounting the statements of others," but there was no public evidence caught on video or audio recordings.

Timing was also a huge factor in the NBA's decision.

With Sterling, the recording confirmed immediate racial issues with the former owner. The NBA's report into Sarver noted many of his accusations happened well over a decade ago.

Investigators said they attempted to verify statements and undocumented interactions but noted in the report they faced tainted memories from witnesses who had already seen the ESPN article.

Players also reacted very differently to accusations against their owners

Almost immediately after Sterling's tapes were published on TMZ, Clippers players made public demonstrations and other NBA stars called for his removal.

In Sarver's case, months after the ESPN article was published, no players are calling for him to be out.

However, we could still hear reactions on Suns media day.

ALSO: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses suspension of Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver

On paper, it's a very different reaction from the league to similar actions from its owners. Again, Sterling was forced to sell the team.

The league handed Sterling a lifetime ban and he was fined $2.5 million.

Sarver will serve a one-year suspension, pay a $10 million fine and complete a workplace training program before his return.

RELATED: Six things you need to know about the NBA's report on Robert Sarver

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