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Report: Outgoing Suns employee alleges continued toxicity, sexism in workplace

Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 15: The logo of the Phoenix Suns is waved to get the crowd pumped up against the Brooklyn Nets on November 15, 2013 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA has been investigating the Suns and owner Robert Sarver since November over claims he made racist and sexist comments and oversaw a toxic workplace.

If there were any issues, Phoenix has had this time to clean them up.

Instead, an employee – Melissa Fender Panagiotakopoulos – recently resigned, citing ongoing problems.

Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
A longtime Phoenix Suns employee resigned from the team last month, alleging she became the target of bullying and retaliation by superiors after raising concerns about gender equity and misconduct within the organization, documents obtained by ESPN show.

She did not specifically reference any issues with Sarver, or name any individual employee.

She alleged that there were “inherent conflicts of interest with managers’ ability to receive commissions, cherry pick deals, revise suite lease terms to line their own pockets, and operate in a different manner than the rest of the sales organization with no true consistent systems or oversight.”

She also alleged inequities and gender discrimination, writing, “Is it a coincidence that I have been the only mother in the entire sales organization for the last 15 years? Is it because certain males were being paid more in equivalent roles?”

Despite the team’s recent on-court success, Panagiotakopoulos wrote the organization has “never been more dysfunctional, and the culture is rapidly eroding.”

The NBA already wasn’t rushing to conclude its investigation. Now, the league has even more to consider.

This probably won’t affect the most common question swirling: Will Sarver lose the team, a la Donald Sterling with the Clippers? Unlike prior allegations, these aren’t directly tied to the owner, though Sarver should ultimately carry responsibility for how the franchise operates.

To that end, the concern just isn’t dissipating.