Tuesday, April 29, 2014

NBA Bans Donald Sterling For Life, Fined $2.5 Million

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA and fined the maximum $2.5 million for his infamous racist rant, league Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday.
Silver also said he would try to make Sterling sell the team, which has been abandoned by more than a dozen sponsors.

“I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens,” Silver told a packed Manhattan news conference. He said he was confident he had the support of the league’s owners.

Under terms of his lifetime ban, Sterling can never again attend any NBA games or practices, can’t visit any Clippers team facilities and cannot take part in meetings of the league’s owners.

It was unclear if Sterling, 80, would challenge the punishment, which Silver said the league was authorized to impose. Before Silver’s press conference, veteran broadcaster Jim Gray told Fox News that he had just spoken to Sterling, who said the team was “not for sale.”

Adam Silver at Tuesday’s press conference.Photo: Getty Images
Silver said he was “personally distraught” and “personally outraged” by Sterling’s incendiary remarks.

He also apologized to the “pioneers of the game” and others insulted by Sterling, including “the great Bill Russell and particularly the great Magic Johnson.”

Sterling’s recorded rant, made public Friday, was prompted when he learned that then-girlfriend V. Stiviano has posted an online photo of herself and a friend posing with Johnson.

Sterling told her to stop posting pictures of herself with black people and not to bring any black people to “my games.”

Silver said an internal investigation, including an interview of Sterling, proved that it was him on the recording.

“The hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling,” Silver said.

“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful.”
Knicks owner James Dolan released a statement supporting Silver.

“I have been in touch with the NBA and fully support Commissioner Silver’s decision. I applaud Adam for acting quickly and decisively in appropriately addressing these disgusting and offensive comments. This kind of behavior has no place in basketball, or anywhere else, and we as a league must stand together in condemning this ignorance.”

Silver said he had spoken to team coach Doc Rivers and several Clippers players, adding: “I believe the players will be satisfied by the decision.”
Silver said Sterling’s ban doesn’t extend to his family members.

The Clippers are scheduled to face the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson had earlier urged fans to boycott the game at LA’s Staples Center to protest Sterling’s remarks.