(Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
Donald Sterling is banned from the L.A. Clippers organization, the NBA, and any associated organizations for life, effective immediately, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday afternoon. In addition, the longtime Clippers owner will also be fined $2.5 million for his racist commentary leaked by his ex-mistress V. Stiviano.
Donald Sterling's punishment for his racist commentary to Stiviano was meted out quickly during the New York City press conference, which included an apology to the NBA players, fans and Magic Johnson. The Jewish NBA owner is physically banned from any league events, but some of his family members that operate in official capacities for the Clippers will not be affected.
Silver said that Sterling admitted to the "deeply offensive and harmful" comments when asked, and the commissioner, who has known the owner for over 20 years, said he knew it was his voice on the tape.
Though the $2.5 million fine and ban will be easy to enforce, the forced sale of the team requires 75 percent of the owners votes to do so. Although Silver said he doesn't foresee any issue getting the votes, it isn't known if he could get Sterling out without them.
The NBA Commissioner, who was a protégé of David Stern's and has only three months on the job, said he spoke to several team owners, Clippers star and NBA Players Association President Chris Paul, Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former player an advisor to the NBA, when making his decision. He also hired attorney David Anders of the Wachtell Lipton firm not long after hearing the audio recording of Sterling Saturday.
"You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games," Sterling said on the tape. "Don't put [Magic Johnson] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so [my friends] have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."
Sterling, lawyer, business magnate and real estate investor, has a history of racist behavior. However, that did not come into account when Silver made his decision, he said.
The 80-year-old Jewish businessman is infamously litigious, and although Silver said he has "no idea if [Sterling will] fight" the ruling, he'd be remiss to – the private NBA bylaws state that the commissioner's ruling is "final, binding and conclusive" in Paragraph 24.
To hear the audio that began the process of Sterling's ouster from the NBA, click below.