NBA Slaps Donald Sterling With Lifetime Ban, $2.5 Million Fine For Racist Views
The NBA suspended Donald Sterling for life and fined the Clippers’ owner $2.5 million — the maximum amount possible — for a series of racist comments he made during an April 9 phone conversation with his lady friend.
As part of the lifetime ban, Sterling may not 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. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity.
The NBA’s investigation into Sterling came after audio tapes of the hate-filled phone call were released last weekend by TMZ and Deadspin. Tuesday’s news conference was scheduled in the wake of public outcry demanding swift and sweeping sanctions on Sterling.
“The hateful opinions voiced on those tapes are from Mr. Sterling,” Silver said. “The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful.”
Silver said he will urge the league’s other owners to force Sterling to sell the Clippers and will do “everything in my power” to see that it happens. Several groups with interest in buying the Los Angeles franchise have already stepped forward.
Kevin Johnson, representing the players’ union, met with Silver on Sunday. Sponsors began pulling their support from the Clippers on Monday.
The Clippers’ players considered boycotting Sunday’s Game 4 in Oakland, before settling on a silent pregame protest and wearing black arm bands and socks during their series-tying loss to the Warriors.
“If a player in the future doesn’t want to play for the Los Angeles Clippers, and is still under contract, we’ll deal with that when it happens,” Silver said. “But that’s not my sense.”
Tuesday’s Game 5 is at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center, where marching and picketing are planned. Rallies for fans to wear all black to the game or boycott the contest all together have grown in fervor.
“I think my response was as a human being,” Silver said.