Posted April 29, 2014

Adam Silver issues lifetime ban, $2.5M fine to Clippers owner Donald Sterling

Adam Silver, Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers
Adam Silver, Donald Sterling

Adam Silver (left) issued a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine to Clippers owner Donald Sterling. (Getty Images/2)

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has imposed a lifetime ban and a maximum $2.5 million fine on Clippers owner Donald Sterling for making racist comments in a taped conversation.

After promising Saturday to grant “due process” to Sterling and to investigate the authenticity of the audio, Silver announced the punishment at a news conference in New York on Tuesday.

“Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA,” Silver said. “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility. He may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.”

Silver also pledged to take steps to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, a move that would require approval of three-quarters of the league’s owners.

“I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force the sale of the team,” Silver said. “I will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens. … I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners.”

McCANN: Sterling set for epic legal fight with NBA

TMZ on Friday released audio of a conversation in which Sterling can be heard scolding V. Stiviano, his girlfriend, for bringing African-Americans to Clippers games and for posting photos of herself and African-Americans, including Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson, to her Instagram account.

Silver said the NBA was able to authenticate that it was Sterling’s voice on the tape and that Sterling acknowledged that it was his voice during the investigation. In a statement issued Saturday, Clippers president Andy Roeser had questioned the legitimacy of the recording.

“The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is 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,” Silver said. “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 apologized on behalf of the NBA for Sterling’s comments.

“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, fans and partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league,” Silver said. “To them, and pioneers of the game like Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton, the great Bill Russell and particularly Magic Johnson, I apologize.”

Silver said the $2.5 million fine was the “maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution.” The funds will be donated to organizations that promote tolerance.

NBA players and owners were among those who reacted quickly to Silver’s ruling.

“Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!!” LeBron James tweeted.

Magic praised Silver for his “great leadership” in disciplining Sterling.

“Former and current NBA players are very happy and satisfied with Commissioner Sterling’s ruling,” Johnson tweeted.

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement that “we will support [Silver's] recommendation to press Mr. Sterling to relinquish his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers franchise.”

Tweeted Mavericks owner Mark Cuban: “I agree 100% with Commissioner Silver’s findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling.”

Before Tuesday’s press conference, at least 16 NBA owners had issued public statements against Sterling.

Late Monday night, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, speaking as an adviser for the National Basketball Players Association, called on Silver to suspend Sterling and assess the maximum fine allowed.

President Barack Obama, NBA legends Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, NBA stars James and Kobe Bryant and NBPA president Chris Paul have all expressed their opposition to Sterling. The Clippers, Heat, Rockets and Trail Blazers all participated in silent protests against Sterling by wearing their warm-up shirts inside out or donning black socks during their recent playoff games. Multiple companies announced Monday that they would suspend their corporate sponsorship agreements with the Clippers. Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he won’t necessarily return next season, even though he is under contract. Even Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, distanced herself from the comments.

The Clippers will host the Warriors in Game 5 on Tuesday night at Staples Center. The first-round series is tied 2-2.

More Donald Sterling coverage

NBA world reacts to Sterling’s lifetime ban
McCANN: Sterling set for epic legal fight with NBA
Transcript of Silver’s press conference
Report: Sterling says Clippers ‘not for sale’
NBA team owners align against Sterling
Heat, other teams show solidarity for Clips
Report: Magic interested in buying Clippers
Donald Sterling’s wife: ‘I am not a racist’
Clippers hold silent protest before Game 4
Obama on Sterling: ‘Offensive, racist remarks’
JENKINS: NBA validated Sterling with CP3 veto
TAYLOR: Clips left in impossible position

111 comments
AdamfSays
AdamfSays

This may be discussed below already, but if he has already been punished as hard as is possible (with additional future punishment already on deck if they can pull it off), why should he bother paying the fine? Hand them $2.5M on the way out the door? Forget that. He should just walk his racist self away and keep his money. The NBA isn't the IRS, they can't just come take it.

Bucky182
Bucky182

Wonder how long this will get hung up in court?


I'm not condoning what Sterling said but the man is getting crushed for stating his beliefs in what he thought was a private setting. I guess we, as Americans, are no longer allowed to have opinions or beliefs regardless of how good or bad those opinions and beliefs are.

jojustinoxford
jojustinoxford

In other news, the Clippers get their act together and advance to the second round!

Image5
Image5

Roger Goodell has a new best friend.  

MichaelC
MichaelC

How awesome would it be if Magic Johnson had masterminded this whole thing - let's say Sterling had offended him 30+ years ago - called him "boy" at a coke party or something - and Magic had vowed that he would get back at Sterling in this lifetime or the next. 


So he orchestrated the skank recording the private conversation and told her to lead Sterling down that conversational path. Couldn't you imagine Magic sitting in a darkened room in his mansion ... and having an aide (no pun intended) emerge from the shadows and whisper in his ear that the everything has been done. And Magic, making a steeple with his fingers, nods and speed-dials Guggenheim Partners?

hagman3926
hagman3926

Well take him out and hang him. What he said was wrong but he said it in a telephone conversation that wasn't meant to go public. For crying out loud. Everybody is getting there drawers up in a bunch.

CleatusTank
CleatusTank

Here is the difference between an owner and a player making these decisions.


A player is not influencing people under his employment.  Racism is oppression.  You have to have control over someone to oppress them


An owner has the control and can influence decisions.  Your welcome.

BradConner
BradConner

HAHAHA!  What an idiot Silver is...Just a publicity stunt!  He won't get away with it.  Sterling's lawyers are already finding loopholes in this:  like the fact it was aired illegally!  And the fact it goes against his 1st Amendment rights!

Silver is just doing what he is being told to do.


How about we start with equality and see where that goes!  We won't have an NBA then!!!

Riskman
Riskman

What other punishment would have satisfied the NBA players and most fans? Not really surprised.

Ebullient
Ebullient

This all seems like it's huge, but it would truly have been more appropriate for city governments to find a way to ban him from ownership of rental property some 30 or so years ago.  Basketball players are going to get paid no matter what.  It sucks to live with an offensive owner, but I'd rather see Sterling suffer for his miserable practices as a parasite who refuses to fix problems in his buildings, refuses to rent to people of several different races, and who delights in evicting people of low financial means so he can double the rent.  Talking a lot of bigoted crap to your girl(?)friend/"archivist" is one thing, but holding that kind of sway over the housing of thousands of people, many of whom are utterly powerless, and utterly abusing that power is even worse.  The guy's been a tool for decades, and only now people start foaming at the mouth about him?

magic mushroom
magic mushroom

Nice ...that's what i call laying down da hammah... senile old racist farty pant. kudos NBA

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

hypocrisy reigns.   barkley can insult white people all his career - says he hates white people (but JUST KIDDING!) and then gets to point his crooked finger... kobe rapes a chic- pays her off and never misses a game.   mj - the beloved mj - gambles and loses millions- and...nothing?  

ShifterKart
ShifterKart

Jason Kidd is still in the league? Wheres the outrage? What a joke.He should cancel the season and say  "F-You" to everyone hahah    :)



SHOGUN
SHOGUN

Riley Cooper should be hung by his balls in a public forum, based on this punishment. This owner - though an idiot for his comments - pays his players (black or white), and at least shows respect to all of them in public. Isn't that more important than his comments made in private? Lots of people have racist tendencies and prejudices, but they keep it to themselves and in their homes - his actions speak louder than his words.

JackHoff
JackHoff

Let the rapists and women beaters stay but ban someone for life that made a few stupid statements behind closed doors? Sounds fair.

Riskman
Riskman

So now Clippers come back and win the World Championship.

darkholelife
darkholelife

Hey, is this where we go for the "I'm the most offended" contest?

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

I'm no racist- and don't condone what sterling said but i would guestimate that about 90%+ of the black players have expressed negative views towards white people in private.  

cord u
cord u

So, wondering what action the league will take against players/coaches who abuse their wives/girlfriends, or who record their "music" albums with misogynist lyrics? Oh wait, that's no big deal. Hating against women (and actually physically beating them up) pales in comparison to saying that you don't want your girlfriend to take pictures with blacks. That's totally obvious. My bad.


The hypocrisy is almost laughable. 


We have an owner (Jay-Z) who's lyrics are infested towards hostility towards women, but not a peep from the league or the media. We have players and coaches (e.g. Jason Kidd) who have admittedly beaten and abused their significant other. But he apologizes and we continue to praise him as a great guy/player/coach. Where's the outrage?


Why is racism so vile, yet misogyny so accepted?

JackHoff
JackHoff

Next step is to be punished for the thoughts in your head.

Riskman
Riskman

Guess he is out of the running for the NAACP award he was about to get for lifetime achievement. How did that happen$$$$$$$$$.

caleb
caleb

So the next time a camera catches a player saying something considered hateful or demeaning to a group of people, does that mean they are out of the NBA permanently?

jimmyjon_55555
jimmyjon_55555

@CleatusTank  chris paul was def oppressed with his $20MM per year contract.   and doc making $5+MM per year??  wow-  to think that the last coach was fired for winning 54 games - wait did you know he was white?  haha...   his actions speak to the contrary actually-    

unitcaptain11
unitcaptain11

@BradConner 1st amendment has nothing to do with this.  All that means is the government cant stop you from speaking out.  An employer can still dump you if they dont like what you say.


You have  right to speak your mind.  You do not have a right to own an NBA team.


BradConner
BradConner

Then Comedians shouldn't be allowed at any Baseketball games!!!!!!!!

badboykilla4rilla
badboykilla4rilla

@jimmyjon_55555 did jordan or barkley systematically discrimnate against people like STerling did with his apartments?  Did Kobe settle out of court in a legal manner?

WilliamCross
WilliamCross

There are convicted rapists in the NBA? And your problem is with the NBA and not the judicial system? Your priorities are crazy!

usameos6
usameos6

@JackHoff  Don't forget the drunk drivers and illegal gun owners .....

usameos6
usameos6

@cord u  Because women don't play in the NBA and don't make up a significant portion of their marketshare.  

the_ellimist
the_ellimist

@cord u  Jay Z is no longer an owner (he only owned a part of 1% of the Nets anyways) because he's a sports agent, so he can't own sports teams. 


Regardless, this issue is about racism, not misogyny. There are definitely a lot of societal issues with misogynists all over the world, and you mentioned Jason Kidd, who was suspended and fined for his actions. 

SamNelson
SamNelson

@caleb  This isn't the first time Sterling has been caught saying things like this. He had a chance to rehab his image and he blew it. He's in a position of major power, he has to be held to a higher standard. 

BradConner
BradConner

@superquad168 @BradConner  

His comments were made behind closed doors...just as comments are made by black people and white people alike behind clothes doors!  If your logic is correct, we wouldn't have an NBA!!!

BradConner
BradConner

@the_ellimist @cord u  

Then none of the comedians should be allowed at NBA games!  Nobody who has ever said anything racist should be allowed to play or attend games!  Oh wait!  thats everyone!!!!!!!!!!!