Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whose racist comments set off a firestorm of protest across the NBA and America, was banned for life by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and fined $2.5 million.
The NBA announced today that it has suspended Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined $2.5 million after he was recorded making racist comments.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement at a news conference in New York.
The decision comes after days of public outrage directed at Sterling after an audio recording surfaced over the weekend that allegedly contained his voice saying racist comments to his then-girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano.
The tape recorded a man’s voice, which the NBA said is Sterling, telling Stiviano not to post pictures of herself with black men to Instagram or bring black men to Clippers games. One of the men mentioned is Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
Sterling, 80, has owned the Clippers since 1981.
The Clippers are the 13th most valuable NBA franchise, worth an estimated $575 million according to Forbes. If Sterling must sell, it is doubtful he will get what the team is worth.
At the press conference, Silver said he would indeed urge NBA owners and the Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team:
The NBA’s bylaws allow for owners to be expelled from the league, though that power is reserved for limited circumstances, such as the inability to operate financially, gambling on league games or fixing games.
The more likely route, which Silver undertook, lay within Article 35 of the NBA Constitution, which allows the commissioner to indefinitely suspend owners for “conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the association.”
Those remarks by Sterling would certainly fall into that category.