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Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Banned From NBA For Life
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a press conference today that he is banning Donald Sterling from the NBA for life.
Sterling will not be able to have any further association with the Clippers or the NBA effective immediately and will also be fined $2.5 million dollars. This is the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution. (It was originally speculated by TMZ Sports that he would be fined $5 million.) The fine money will be distributed to anti-discrimination groups.
Sterling will not make any decisions related to the Clippers and will be banned from all Clippers practices and games and well as NBA Board of Governors activities. Silver is urging the Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team. He would need a 3/4 vote from the owners. "I fully expect to get the support I need to remove him," Silver said.
"The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful," Silver said.
Sterling faced a media firestorm when his ex-girlfriend V. Stitiano released an audio recording of the Clippers owner making racist remarks about black people. Silver confirmed the voice on the recording is indeed Sterling's voice. Sterling also confessed it was his voice that was recorded; when Silver was asked if Sterling expressed remorse, he suggested he did not.
The lifetime ban only applies to Sterling and not his immediate family. "There have been no decisions about other members of the Sterling family," Silver said.
UPDATE 1:20 p.m.: The L.A. City Council voted unanimously to condemn Sterling's racist comments and back the NBA's decision to ban Sterling from the NBA for life, according to KPCC. They also asked for Sterling to apologize to the city and especially to Magic Johnson. Councilman Bernard Parks said:
"We believe that there should be a personal apology to the entire L.A. city community, but specifically, identifying that Earvin 'Magic' Johnson, who is an iconic figure in this city and nationally, was singled out by those statements, that he should also get a personal apology.”
In addition, Parks asked the L.A. Times to stop running Sterling's real estate and charity work advertisements in the publication. However, the Times has no comment on that yet.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson spoke at an L.A. press conference shortly after Silver's announcement, reported KPCC. "We will not tolerate this from anybody, from any company, least of all one that bears this great city's name," Garcetti said.
Johnson, who is a former NBA player, said, "I believe that today stands as one of those great moments, where sports once again transcends."
The full transcript of Silver's press conference speech has been released and can be read in its entirety here.
UPDATE 11:45 a.m.: The Clippers website now just shows the words "WE ARE ONE" with the Clippers logo against a gray background.
Magic Johnson has tweeted about the situation:
Now let's hope that the other 29 owners do the right thing.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 29, 2014
Mayor Eric Garcetti also commented on the decision: