Phoenix Suns: McDonough accuses Phoenix City Councilman of taking bribes

Ryan McDonough Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Ryan McDonough Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Ryan McDonough implicitly implicated Robert Sarver and/or the Phoenix Suns in a pay-for-vote scheme while calling out a Phoenix City Council member.

Well, this feels like a scandal. Former Phoenix Suns General Manager, Ryan McDonough took to Twitter to seemingly call out controversial Phoenix City Council member, Sal DiCiccio, for unjustly condemning the NBA players’ boycott, but in doing so, may have implicated the Suns (or at least owner, Robert Sarver) in some shady politicking.

First, let’s go over what was said, then we will review the backstory.

On Thursday, DiCiccio (who by most accounts is a fairly terrible human being), tweeted an article (from Fox News) about how the Lakers and Clippers were considering boycotting the rest of the NBA playoffs:

"“Looks like 2020 is making a huge turnaround. I really hope these guys follow through with this easy layup so we don’t have to listen to any more whiny b*****s.”"

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Former Phoenix Suns GM raises serious accusations.

There is so much wrong with everything in those two sentences, it hard to know where to start, but put that aside for now. Enter former Phoenix Suns General Manager who re-entered the basketball world recently and has used his newfound presence on social media and podcasts to burn already damaged bridges (including dishing on the Luka/Ayton draft decision), came in hot with a blowtorch in hand.

Quoting DiCiccio’s tweet, he said:

"“The only thing worse than a crooked, racist politician who takes money to vote a certain way is a crooked, racist politician who STILL takes the money but DOES NOT vote that way…And before you reply, Sal DiCiccio, remember this – I was there – I ‘have receipts.'”"

Okay, let’s rewind.

This tweet is almost certainly referencing Talking Stick Resort Arena’s $230 million renovation that required approval from the Phoenix City Council. After a few delays in voting and Robert Sarver at one point threatening to relocate the team if the city didn’t approve funding, the motion passed on a 6-2 vote.

Sal DiCiccio was one of the two city council members who opposed it.

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What Ryan McDonough seems to be accusing him of here is taking money to vote in the affirmative and then reneging on that agreement. While that is certainly shady and corrupt behavior, the question this accusation really poses is, “Wait, who paid him to vote ‘Yes’ on the arena renovation?”

Is he accusing the Phoenix Suns organization, or maybe just specifically its owner, Robert Sarver, of paying off city council members to vote for his new arena? I know Sarver wasn’t the target of his tweet, but the collateral damage in implication alone here is fairly devastating, especially if he has evidence with regard to what he calls “receipts.”

Essentially, he is calling out the guy who took the bribe, but at the same time, is also tattle-telling on the person/group who gave out the bribe.

Keep in mind, McDonough didn’t have the most amicable of splits with the Phoenix Suns, and his reputation around the franchise and fanbase is less than stellar, so who knows how much validity is behind this indirect accusation.

Still, these are strong words from the former GM, and this now becomes a story worth following, if it goes anywhere at all.

Update: Sal DiCiccio responds

Shortly after the accusation, DiCiccio responded:

"“The general manager of the Phoenix Suns is now saying that I took a bribe. NEVER HAPPENED. I have called for the City Attorney to immediately begin a formal investigation to look into these allegations. Obviously, one of us is lying and the investigation will show who that is.”"

This escalated quickly, as expected. Now there could be a formal investigation into the matter. More to come as the story develops.

Another Update:

McDonough clarified and slightly backtracked bribery accusations.

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