New York, NY — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has announced that the league has banned L.A. Clippers Owner Donald Sterling for life, and that he is being fined $2.5 million. That means that Sterling, who made several racist comments about his girlfriend taking pictures with Blacks and minorities, is no longer in charge of his own team.
Commissioner Silver commented, “The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is on the recordings … is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful feelings are those of Mr. Sterling. The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply disturbing and alarming. As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers. I will urge the board of governors to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that happens.”
He added, “This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family.”
The decision was made after several major sponsors pulled out. In addition, several former and current NBA stars started issuing public statements denouncing Sterling. Those who spoke up included Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson (who was actually referenced by Sterling in one of his comments), Kevin Johnson (now Mayor of Sacramento), and Lebron James.
So where will the $2.5 million fine go? According to Silver, the fine will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be selected by both the NBA and the Players Association.
Silver added that when he first heard the comments made by Sterling, he hoped that it was doctored and that it wasn’t really true. “I’ve known Donald for over 20 years,” he says. “I haven’t been that close to him, but never seen anything that would indicate that he held the views that were expressed in these audio tapes.”