NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling "for life" after an audio clip surfaced on TMZ featuring the Los Angeles Clippers owner making extremely racist comments to his then girlfriend.
In the recording, the embattled team owner urged V. Stiviano to disassociate herself with Black people, not bring her Black friends to Clippers games and to refrain from posting photos of her and "minorities" such as Magic Johnson to her Instagram account. In the recording, Sterling was specifically heard saying:"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with Black people. Do you have to?"
The announcement of Sterling's punishment was made today in Manhattan at the New York Hilton Midtown. "We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling's views," Silver said. "They simply have no place in the NBA."
As part of Sterling's ban, he may not attend any game or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. "This league is far bigger than any one owner, any one coach and any one player," said Silver.
Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million, which is the maximum amount allowed under the NBA's constitution. The fine will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association. “The lifetime banning of Donald Sterling is a bold and appropriate action in this matter,” said National Action Network founder Reverend Al Sharpton.
“This is a huge victory for those of us that stood against this ugly display of racism. We must continue to make unequivocal stands against bigotry and racism. I look forward to speaking to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and beginning the dialogue with other civil rights leaders right away to discuss putting in measures to make sure this never happens again.”
Commissioner Silver also announced that he will urge the NBA's Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.
Brandon Robinson is an entertainment and sports journalist. Follow him on Twitter: @ScoopB. Check out his journalistic journey here.