Donald Sterling Banned for Life from NBA, Fined $2.5 Million

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life and fined $ 2.5 million US by the NBA for making racist comments.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he will try to force the controversial owner to sell his franchise. Photo: Gullpress WNA/ Flickr

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he will try to force the controversial owner to sell his franchise. Photo: Gullpress WNA/ Flickr

The NBA has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life from any association with the league or the Clippers, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced in a news conference Monday afternoon in New York.

As part of the ban, Sterling is not allowed “to attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.” Sterling also will be barred from attending any Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity.

In the recorded conversations that even garnered a rebuke from President Barack Obama, Sterling could be heard telling a woman, V. Stiviano, not to bring black friends to Clippers games or to post photos of herself with black people, including NBA legend Magic Johnson, on her Instagram account.

Silver said Sterling admitted the voice on the recordings was his, but Sterling “has not expressed to me directly any other views.” Sterling violated league rules, through his “expressions of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league.”

“We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views,” Silver said. “They simply have no place in the NBA.”

Moreover, the troubled owner received a maximum fine allowed under the NBA constitution in an amount equal to $ 2.5 million dollars.  Mr. Silver, who succeeded longtime NBA leader David Stern in February,  also claimed to do everything in his power to force the controversial owner to sell his franchise.

“As players, we’re very happy with the decision, but we’re not content yet,” NBPA vice president Roger Mason Jr. said in response to the NBA announcement.

“We want immediate action. We want a timetable from the owners on when this vote is going to happen. We feel confident that with Adam Silver’s urging, and we’ve heard from a lot of the owners around the league, we think this is something that can be handled quickly.”

Sterling’s lawyer, Robert Platt, declined comment when asked whether Sterling would dispute or respond to the league’s actions.

Several groups hoping to purchase the Clippers are already stepping forward with a bidding war expected to exceed $1 billion for the franchise, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Among those groups, Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners will be front and center in pursuit of the Clippers.

Silver’s decision was met with immediate support from NBA owners, players and others connected to the league who have been calling for swift, firm punishment ever since TMZ posted audio featuring the incendiary comments.

“I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you,” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star who was tasked with leading the NBA players union’s efforts on this matter.

Even Sterling’s own organization applauded the punishment, as a team representative told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles:  “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”

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