PHOENIX (AP) _ The Phoenix Suns settled a sex discrimination lawsuit by agreeing to pay $82,500 and hire women for its halftime entertainment shows.

The settlement was announced Friday by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

``To specifically exclude one sex from a position seems rather shocking in this day and age,'' said Mary Jo O'Neill, EEOC regional attorney.

Suns lawyer Tom O'Malley declined to comment on the case.

The EEOC suit contended that in 1999-00, the Suns and Sports Magic Team Inc. adopted gender-restrictive hiring policies for the Zoo Crew. The crew provides entertainment during Suns games, including trampoline dunks with the team's gorilla mascot.

The suit contended that slots on the crew were limited to ``males with athletic ability and talent.''