Donald Sterling also fined $2.5 million by NBA commissioner
WASHINGTON D.C. – Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned from the National Basketball Association for life and fined $2.5 million by Commissioner Adam Silver.
The decision comes after days of outrage sparked by recordings of racist comments, which the NBA said were of Sterling, that were made public by celebrity news outlet TMZ and the website Deadspin over the weekend.
The voice on the recordings can be heard disparaging African Americans.
NBA players, owners, fans, corporate sponsors, and even U.S. President Barack Obama voiced their opposition to the comments.
“When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don’t really have to do anything,” President Obama said while on a tour of Asia. “You just have to let them talk.”
Several corporate sponsors withdrew their association with the team on Monday following the revelations.
Silver said that an NBA investigation into the matter uncovered that Sterling was the person behind the offensive remarks.
"The man whose voice is heard on the recording and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sunday is Mr. Sterling," said Silver during a heated press conference Tuesday. “The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful.”
The commissioner added that he would try to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, and that the $2.5 million fine would be donated to anti-discrimination organizations and tolerance efforts to be selected by the NBA and the Players Association.
Twitter was ablaze Tuesday following Silver’s announcement.
NBA star Lebron James praised Sterling’s decision tweeting, “Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #Strive for Greatness.”
Basketball legend and Los Angeles Dodgers part owner Magic Johnson tweeted, “Former and current NBA players are very happy and satisfied with Commissioner Silver's ruling.” He added that Sterling “showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.”
On one of the recordings, Sterling and his girlfriend are arguing over her posting of a picture with Johnson to the social media website Instagram, which Sterling took exception to because Johnson is black.
“You can do anything,” said the voice the NBA said belongs to Sterling. “But don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me.”
The Clippers are scheduled to play the Golden State Warriors in Game Five of a first-round playoff series later today. The series is currently tied 2-2.
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