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Clippers owner Donald Sterling banned for life by the NBA

NEW YORK (AP) -- 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 will be forced to sell the team he has owned since 1981.

Lifetime Ban For Donald Sterling


A message left seeking comment at Sterling's business office hadn't been returned Tuesday afternoon. Team spokesman Seth Burton said in an email that the Clippers had no plans to issue a statement from Sterling on Tuesday.

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.

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 outraged players and fans.

Silver said the ban applied only to Sterling and there had been no discussions about whether he could sell to a family member.

Many owners supported Silver, and none of them publicly defended Sterling.

"We applaud the firm punishment handed out today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and appreciate the swiftness with which the NBA conducted its investigation," Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob said in a statement.

The fine will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts, Silver said.

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."

After the announcement, the Clippers' website had a simple message: "We are one."

"We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins," the Clippers added in a statement.

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.

Sterling is estranged from his wife and had been dating Stiviano, 31. In court documents, Stiviano describes him as a man "with a big toothy grin brandishing his sexual prowess in the faces of the Paparazzi and caring less what anyone else thought, the least of which, his own wife."

Silver said when he first heard the audio, he hoped it had been altered or was fake, but thought it was Sterling. And it doesn't matter if Sterling didn't realize he was being recorded, Silver said.

"Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they're now public, and they represent his views."

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about ourPRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

Join the discussion

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cpcoder4u May 01 2014 at 2:38 PM

SO how much did the NBA pay the girlfriend for setting him up and taping him?

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boyle1034 May 01 2014 at 3:09 AM

If every white european in the country boycotted all of the NBA games we'd get somewhere.

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3 replies
lgvxl42 April 30 2014 at 11:04 PM

......All I can say is "Sterling hold your ground". Don't kowtow to the race baiters & hang it in the bootie of that floozie who set you up!

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Manolo May 01 2014 at 12:27 AM

Probably he was joking, I am Spanish and people make jokes about me and I don't mind.Leave this fellow alone!!

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1 reply
quixoticjak Manolo May 01 2014 at 10:42 AM

No joke, he wasn't joking...

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1 reply
Chris quixoticjak May 21 2014 at 11:53 AM

And how do you know, were you there, and have you ever joked about another race?

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PRINCESS April 30 2014 at 10:28 PM

Sterling is a bigoted moron, but why is no one making a huge deal over what Snoop Dog said in response to the private tape that was leaked ? His response was the most vile, vulgar display of any prejudiced person I have EVER heard. Then Shaq instagrams himself making fun of a young man with a severe physical disability.. Playing the "race card", being a bully and returning racial slurs back and forth is NOT helping anyone grow past prejudices of race, appearance or beating someone down.

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2 replies
tcsawyer PRINCESS May 01 2014 at 1:36 AM

Why do Jesse Jackson, Louis Farikan, and Al Sharpton constantly get away with saying absolutely awful things about white people.. Even Obama's own preacher has been openly racist. No one even pays any real attention. This Black bullshit has gone way too far. Why must everyone feel the need to protect these people above everyone else? America is not benefiting from this. It is massively disruptive for everyone to constantly pile on every time some jackass opens his mouth about a Black. America is dying at the hands of liberals.

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1 reply
collarup11 tcsawyer May 01 2014 at 2:10 AM

Stop treating us like shyt and just be fair if you have the confidence to do so but we all know you don't. You don't want to compete. You want the advantage of just having that white face

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Chris PRINCESS May 21 2014 at 11:54 AM

Exactly, it only makes sense and $ to go after the white guy.

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marypete April 30 2014 at 7:53 PM

The girl friend did not seem to mind his comments. Why should anyone else? Or is she a money grubbing ho?

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2 replies
myronshank48 marypete April 30 2014 at 9:16 PM

The girlfriend isn't a black woman why would the comments bother her.

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1 reply
spg1582 myronshank48 May 01 2014 at 12:22 AM

no she is blexican!! and if he was not stupid rich she would be on the arm of another stupid rich dude.

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Chris marypete May 21 2014 at 11:56 AM

Any girl with a guy 20 years older, had one thing on there mind. $$$$$$$$

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rickulsh April 30 2014 at 8:48 PM

Yep the old double standard , Shaq is a real roll model , even poking fun of someone of his own race . He s a real prince . And above all it was a social media thing for the whole world to see , while Sterlings was having a private conversation which was not for the whole world to hear , makes a person wonder why our President has not made Shaq crawl on the carpet and ask for him to be banned from a broadcasting position . There is more of a double standard in this country then the whole public is willing to admit to

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1 reply
myronshank48 rickulsh April 30 2014 at 9:40 PM

For real....you need to sit at the little kids table,,it was inmature on Shaq part but rickuls your wagging the dog would you eat an apple that has a worm White America created the double standard ...Jim Crow..know your history

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1 reply
Bruce myronshank48 April 30 2014 at 10:16 PM

Your English sucks. Go back to school and shut your mouth.

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streetlaw1 April 30 2014 at 8:11 PM

Will the NBA have as severe a punishment for comments made such Isiah Thomas made about Larry Bird? Will the NBA hold the standard when players are involved with illegal substances or caught up in criminal activities?

If so, fantastic! If not, then the punishment does not fit the crime.

The owner is a jerk. Shouldn't the marketplace determine his penalty?

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2 replies
Bruce streetlaw1 April 30 2014 at 10:20 PM

Free Speech. You may not like what he says but he still have a constitutional right to say it without getting fined and barred for life. He should sue the commissioner for violation of he rights. Our service men and women give their lives for these rights.

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quixoticjak streetlaw1 May 01 2014 at 10:51 AM

Didn't the market place speak? Isn't Silver its spokesperson? And when the owners vote, that's marketplace.

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Kwessies April 30 2014 at 6:18 PM

The race card getting old eh?! Well just examine for a moment the statistics regarding blacks that only represent roughly 12% of America's population. Whites are clearly the predominant race; however, blacks represent almost 60% of those incarcerated. Unemployment for blacks are significantly higher than their white counterparts. Home ownership is significantly lower than whites. High school drop-out rates are astronomically higher for blacks relative to whites. Whites are predominantly in management positions throughout the work force. Is this just a mere coincidence? or is there a systemic problem to which we should attribute this disparity. How can so many people turn a blind eye to what is really occurring. It is due to people like Donald Sterling why the disparity we have today remain a concern. You are absolutely right--he is entitled to free speech. However, my concern is the constitution but rather the moral/ethical dilemma of today.

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5 replies
con4ssyst April 30 2014 at 7:37 PM

This entire incident is just another example of how freedom of speech (in Sterlng's case, it was private) is being attacked.

This incident also seems to have been staged by the gold digger and race baiters.

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2 replies
spg1582 con4ssyst May 01 2014 at 12:26 AM

i am loving the race baiter theory. wow what a concept i would love to sit on my ass and do nothing and get a paycheck. if you dont have a w2 than you dont get to vote. white or black or anything make a mark and lets prosper i dont care if you are not white or anything lets work to make the usa great!!!

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quixoticjak con4ssyst May 01 2014 at 10:54 AM

The free speech dilemma. Why is it? A) Sterling exercised his free speech. Stering can still exercise his free speech. B) Anyone who has an opinion about Sterling is exercising his or her own free speech. C) A newspaper, reporter, TV media, internet, if saying anythng about Sterling, also exercising their free speech.
ON and ON and ON....

Why the ignorance concerning "free speech"?

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