Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned from the NBA for the rest of his life.
That was part of the punishment he received for making racist comments about African Americans in a telephone conversation that was recorded between him and his girlfriend.
“Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during an announcement Tuesday morning.
Sterling has also been fined $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed by league rules. That money will be donated to anti-discrimination organizations.
With this punishment, it means 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 is also not allowed to attend any NBA Board of Governors meetings or participate in any other league activity, Silver said.
“Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life,” former NBA player and current owner of the LA Dodgers Magic Johnson tweeted shortly after the announcement was made.
The NBA’s decision comes days after an audio recording involving Sterling and his girlfriend was made public. In the recording, Sterling specifically targeted Johnson by telling his girlfriend to not bring him or any other African American to Clipper games.
“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver said. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage. Sentiments of this kind are contrary to principals of inclusion and respect that inform our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league.”
Silver also recommended the NBA Board of Governors to force the sale of Sterling’s team. If given 75% of the vote, Sterling will be forced to give up his ownership of the Clippers.
No word yet on when that voting will take place, but Silver said it would happen immediately.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson and a group of former and current NBA players stood outside city hall after the announcement to express their reactions.
“I want to personally thank Mr. Silver for bringing down the hammer,” said Garcetti.
Kevin Johnson, who spoke on behalf of NBA players, said they thought the commissioner had done its duty.
“When you see cancer, you’ve got to cut it out quickly,” he said. “Silver did that.”
Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981.
Do you think Sterling’s punishment is fair? Clipper fans, let us know!