*In a nationally televised press conference, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling “for life” from the NBA (National Basketball Association) and fined him 2.5M, in the aftermath of recorded racial comments about African Americans and other minorities.
“The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice you heard on the recording and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sunday is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage. Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic league.”
Silver went on to express his deep regret to NBA legends that fought hard for civil rights and inclusion in primarily White sports leagues. “I am personally distraught that the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations and caused current and former players, coaches, fansand partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league,” said Silver. “To them and pioneers in the game, like Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater(Nat) Clifton, the great Bill Russell and particularly Magic Johnson, I apologize.”
Silver, who was visibly angry and affected, levied the stiffest penalty he could. “Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with The Clippers organization or the NBA,” he explained. “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governor’s meetings or participating in any other league activities. I am also fining Mr. Sterling 2.5 million dollars, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution.”
In a silver lining to the debacle, Silver indicated that the fine would go to a worthy cause. “These funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its players association,” said Silver.
In perhaps the most passionate portion of the press conference, Silver indicated that Sterling had no place in the league. “As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership, I will urge the Board of Governor’s to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to insure that that happens,” he said.
The Los Angeles Clippers have released the following statement:
“We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”
Adam Silver, in a question and answer session indicated that in terms of new ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, a central figure in the controversy was mentioned. “Magic Johnson knows he is always welcome as an owner in this league and is a close friend of the NBA,” he said.
So far, Donald Sterling has not expressed any remorse over the decision. “Mr. Sterling has not expressed those views directly to me,” said Silver. “Mr. Sterling’s views ‘simply have no place in the NBA.’”