NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Clippers owner Donald Sterling will be banned for life from any team activities and forced to pay a fine of $2.5 million, the maximum allowed by NBA rules. This decision comes after racist comments caught on tape by his mistress, V. Stiviano, were published on TMZ.com on Friday night.
Silver also said that he and the league will urge Sterling to sell the team.
According the NBA's investigation, which is now complete, the voice on the tape was that of Sterling, and more importantly, the views expressed on the tape are those of Sterling.
The NBA released the following statement, outlining the conditions of Sterling's ban:
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA, it was announced today at a press conference in Manhattan.
Commissioner Silver has also fined Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum allowed under the NBA Constitution. The fine money will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association.
As part of the lifetime ban, Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be present at an 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.
Commissioner Silver also announced that he will urge the Board of Governers to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.
The discipline issued today is based on the Commissioner's conclusion that Mr. Sterling violated league rules through his expression of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league. ...
Sterling, who has a long history of trouble, was recorded telling Stiviano not to "bring black people" to Clippers games.
"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people," Sterling says on the tape. "But why publicize it on the Instagram and why bring it to my games?"
This is far from the first time Sterling, who bought the Clippers in 1981, has been accused of discrimination.
Recently, in 2008, former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor, filed a wrongful termination suit that was eventually rejected.
Sterling has faced extensive federal charges of civil rights violations and racial discrimination in business, making shocking race-related statements in sworn testimony before reaching multimillion-dollar settlements. He has also been sued for sexual harassment by former employees, and the court proceedings detailed an outlandish list of Sterling's personal proclivities.
In 2009, Sterling received an NAACP lifetime achievement award, and was set to receive his second before the recordings surfaced.
Following the latest allegations, many players, coaches, and owners around the league, including Michael Jordan, had called for swift action against Sterling. Even president Barack Obama weighed in, calling Sterling's comments "racist."
In a show of solidarity, Clippers players flipped their warm-up shirts inside out, as to not show the team logo prior to their game Sunday at Golden State.
Advertisers have also been quick to react, with Mercedes-Benz, Virgin Airlines and others ending their sponsorships.
More to come.