The NBA has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and given him the maximum permitted fine following the release of audio of Sterling making racist remarks to his former girlfriend. Commissioner Adam Silver said that Sterling will still remain owner of the team under league bylaws, but he urged the league’s board of governors — its 30 owners – to force a sale of the team.
Silver told reporters that he spoke with Sterling during the league’s investigation upon the release of the audio, and confirmed with him that the voice expressing the “hateful opinions” was Sterling’s.
Under the league’s constitution, a vote by three-quarters of team owners vote can return the team to league control.
Prior to Silver’s announcement, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban warned that ousting Sterling could prove to be “a slippery slope.” While he called Sterling’s comments ”abhorrent,” Cuban said the league has “very, very careful” in ”making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do.”
Sterling’s comments drew widespread condemnation from current and former players, coaches, other team owners, commentators, lawmakers, and even President Obama.
On Sunday, Clippers players protested Sterling’s comments by wearing their warm-up jerseys inside out to hide the team’s logo. Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, whose team plays the Clippers tonight in Los Angeles in a crucial play-off game, has called on fans to boycott tonight’s game and leave the Staples Center empty.