Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, has been banned for life by new NBA commissioner Adam Silver after the 80-year-old (pictured left) was recorded making racist comments.
Sterling is immediately barred from attending NBA games or practices, being present at any Clippers office or facility, or participating in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. The NBA’s longest-serving franchise owner was also fined $2.5m (€1.8m) and cannot participate in any league business going forward.
Additionally, Silver said yesterday (Tuesday) evening that he would also try to force Sterling to sell the basketball franchise. If three-quarters of the other 29 owners agree to Silver's recommendation, Sterling will be forced to offload the team he has owned since 1981. “I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him,” Silver, who took over at the NBA’s helm in February, said. “We stand together in condemning Mr Sterling's views. They simply have no place in the NBA… This league is far bigger than any one owner, any one coach and any one player.”
Sterling's $2.5m fine will be donated to organisations dedicated to anti-discrimination campaigns that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the players' association. It was reported that the players had strongly considered boycotting play-off games if Silver had not ruled harshly against Sterling. "We wanted to be a part of this decision, and we wanted Adam Silver to know where we stood,” Roger Mason Jr., the first vice-president of the players' union, told the Associated Press news agency. “We were very clear that anything other than Sterling selling his team was not going to be enough for us.”
Silver added: “This has all happened in three days, and so I am hopeful there will be no long-term damage to the league and to the Clippers organisation. But as I said earlier, I'm outraged, so I certainly understand other people's outrage. This will take some time, and appropriate healing will be necessary." The Clippers said in a statement on its website: “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”