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 amount 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 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.
According to Silver, Sterling admitted that it is his voice that can be heard on the tape posted several days ago by the websites TMZ and Deadspin. So we know the tape’s not a fake. It’s no longer just an alleged recording of Sterling.
The NBA has never taken an action like this against one if its owners before. But the punishment imposed by Commissioner Adam Silver is appropriate. Sterling needed to be held accountable for his racist, bigoted, and offensive views. He needed to be shown the door. And that’s exactly what the league has done.
Silver does not have the authority to transfer ownership of the Clippers from Sterling to another individual or group.However, the NBA Board of Governors can expel an owner and force a sale. Silver says he’ll be asking the board (which consists of the NBA’s team owners) to do just that.
Given that the league has just declared him persona non grata and barred him from attending any games or even stepping foot inside the offices inside the Staples Center, Sterling has no reason to resist a sale except out of spite.
The Clippers are probably worth over a billion dollars, so in all likelihood, Sterling will unfortunately be pocketing a lot of money when the team is sold to new ownership. But at least he’ll never sit courtside at another NBA game.
Silver’s decision has been receiving near-universal praise so far. Outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted that he agrees “100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling”. Miami Heat star LeBron James tweeted, “Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #StriveForGreatness”.