Today, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has responded swiftly by banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million dollars for his racist comments made to his reported girlfriend. The unprecedented punishment handed down by NBA commissioner Adam Silver comes a little more than three days after TMZ released an audio recording of Sterling telling his girlfriend known as V. Stiviano he didn’t want her bringing African-Americans to Clippers games; including former Los Angeles Lakers guard and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
Among the racist comments attributed to Sterling in the audio recording, he was quoted telling his alleged girlfriend that blacks are treated like dogs in Israel. And when she reminded him that most of his players are blacks, Sterling goes on to say, “I support them and give them food and clothes and cars and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have – who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners that created the league?”
Sterling had been sued multiple times in the past for racial discrimination, one by a former Clippers executive and several by the United States Supreme Court for discriminating against blacks and Hispanics from renting out his properties in Los Angeles, California.
The announcement made by Silver to sanction Sterling undoubtedly surprised the majority of us. Silver shared his thoughts regarding Sterling comments as he stated, “… I’m personally distraught the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations” and “I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him,” Silver said.
Silver also goes on by saying as part of the ban, Sterling is prohibited from “…[attending] 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.” Also, Sterling is banned from attending any Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity. Likewise, the $2.5 million dollar fine is the maximum the NBA can issue under the NBA constitution according to Silver. Next, the NBA plans to oust Sterling to sell the team which requires at least Seventy-five percent of the NBA’s owners votes.