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“Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.”
– Magic Johnson
on Twitter
“Unfortunately, just to hear that about him saying that about other black people, black players or whatever it may be, it’s just tough. … I’m pretty sure he knew he was going to get punished. We all make mistakes. I won’t forget, but I’ll forgive him.”
– Torii Hunter,
Tigers outfielder, former
Fort Wayne Wizard
“I applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s swift and decisive response today. He sent a powerful message that there can be zero tolerance for racism and hatred in the NBA.”
– Michael Jordan
“Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #StriveForGreatness”
– LeBron James on Twitter
“When one rotten apple does something, or if you see cancer, you’ve got to cut it out really quickly.”
Kevin Johnson,
Sacramento mayor,
former NBA star
Associated Press photos
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media Tuesday after announcing that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from the league.
reaction

Lifetime ban for Clippers owner

Sterling barred after racist comments caught on tape

Jordan
Sterling was also fined $2.5 million and may be forced to sell his team by the other league owners.
Sacramento, Calif., Mayor Kevin Johnson, right, and Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar embrace outside City Hall in Los Angeles.

– NBA Commissioner Adam Silver delivered the swiftest, strongest penalty he could, then called on NBA owners to force Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team for making racist comments that hurt the league.

Almost unanimously, owners supported the commissioner Tuesday, as he handed down one of the harshest penalties in the history of U.S. sports.

“We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views. They simply have no place in the NBA,” Silver said at a news conference.

Sterling, 80, is banned for life from any association with the league or the Clippers, and fined $2.5 million – the maximum allowable under the NBA constitution. If three-fourths of the other 29 owners agree to Silver’s recommendation, Sterling must sell the team he has owned since 1981.

Players and others cheered Silver’s quick action, with union officials saying that if the league’s punishment hadn’t included a mandate for Sterling to sell the team, players were considering boycotting playoff games, including Tuesday’s Golden State Warriors-Clippers matchup, the team’s first home game since the scandal erupted.

“We wanted to be a part of this decision, and we wanted Adam Silver to know where we stood. And we were very clear that anything other than Sterling selling his team was not going to be enough for us,” said Roger Mason Jr., the first vice president of the players union.

Sterling’s comments – which were recorded by his girlfriend and released by TMZ on Saturday – harmed the league, Silver said. Sponsors were threatening to abandon the NBA, and criticism was coming from fans on social media and even the White House.

On the recording, Sterling criticized V. Stiviano – purportedly the female voice on the tapes – for posting pictures of her with black athletes Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp.

“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” Sterling asks the woman on the tape.

“Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league,” Silver said.

The NBA’s longest-tenured owner keeps his team for now – and Silver said he didn’t know if Sterling would fight to do so permanently. But he can’t attend games or practices, can’t be involved in any personnel decisions or participate in board of governors meetings.

Just three days after the scandal broke, and hours before the Clippers hosted their biggest game of the season, Silver apologized to some of the league’s black pioneers while meting out a punishment he believed would satisfy players and fans.

Sterling, with an estimated net worth of about $2 billion, did not comment, though Silver said he did not apologize for his remarks. Silver said Sterling confirmed that he was the person on the audiotapes.

Silver hasn’t even been on the job three months and already had to face a crisis that threatened the league not only financially – with several companies ending or suspending their sponsorships of the Clippers – but more importantly, socially.

The NBA survived the Indiana Pacers’ brawl with Detroit Pistons fans, and referee Tim Donaghy betting on games he officiated. But this brought a different level of outrage, particularly because the league could have done something sooner about Sterling, who has faced federal charges of civil rights violations and racial discrimination in his business dealings.

“This has all happened in three days, and so I am hopeful there will be no long-term damage to the league and to the Clippers organization,” Silver said. “But as I said earlier, I’m outraged, so I certainly understand other people’s outrage.”

Sterling’s Clippers have been one of the most incompetent franchises in pro sports and would have been home by now in most of their seasons. But this team is a title contender led by Doc Rivers, a black coach whom Sterling brought from Boston and paid $7 million a year.

Rivers canceled practice Monday and declined a meeting request from Sterling. He wouldn’t address whether he would return next season if Sterling were still in control.

That might not be an issue if the owners vote to oust the owner.

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