In a startling but not completely unexpected move, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling from participating in any NBA related activities even attending games for life. The lifetime ban plus a 2.5 million fine are the harshest sanction the NBA has in it’s arsenal of penalties for violations. Sterling has come under intense criticism for a recent racist filled via a telephone call with his former girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano.
“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 a news conference in New York.
Silver also said he would immediately recommend to the NBA Board of Governors that they force a sale of the Clippers and that he would do “everything in [his] power to ensure that happens.” In an ironic twist, Magic Johnson, who was specifically targeted in the hate-filled rant is positioned to purchase the team once Sterling is forced to sell.
Sterling, 80, has owned the Clippers since 1981.
The money from the $2.5 million fine will be donated to anti-discrimination groups, Silver said.
“As part of the lifetime ban, Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity,” said Silver.
“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 principles of inclusion and respect that inform our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league,” he said.
STATEMENT FROM ATLANTA HAWKS MAJORITY OWNER BRUCE LEVENSON
“I commend Commissioner Adam Silver in being diligent in how he handled this important matter. He acted swiftly and appropriately with the severity of the penalty and I strongly support his decision.”