On April 27th NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the controversy surrounding racist statements made by Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angles Clippers basketball team, by saying that Sterling was owed due process but that the league would move “extraordinarily quickly” in gathering facts and taking a course of action.
Sterling’s lover V. Stiviano recorded private conversations between them where the billionaire asked her not to take photos with African-Americans or “bring them to his games.” The leaked audio lead to silent protests by members of the Clippers and defection of sponsors and advertisers.
In a press conference today he announced that he was banning Sterling from the NBA for life and was fining him $2.5 Million, which will be donated to charity. He is also urging the Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team. This is the harshest punishment for an owner of a team in sports history.
Sterling acknowledged that it was his voice on the tape but made no other concessions to the commissioner. Several team owners players applauded the decision:
“Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life,” wrote Magic Johnson, who was named specifically in the audio by Sterling. “Former and current NBA players are very happy and satisfied with Commissioner Silver’s ruling.”
Dallas Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban also agreed with the decision.
“I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling.”
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