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Adam Silver Bans Donald Sterling for Life from NBA, Moves to Eject Him from Clippers' Ownership

( [email protected] ) Apr 29, 2014 03:16 PM EDT
Donald Sterling is banned from NBA for his entire lifetime. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced this judgment on long-time Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was caught making a series of racist comments against Black people.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced his decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for life. 

"Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA," he said during a press conference in New York on Tuesday. "Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility. He may not participate in any business or player personnel decision." 

The owner of Clippers was caught making racist comments in audio recordings published by TMZ and Deadspin. In the audio recording, Sterling told a woman, V. Stiviano, not to bring black friends to Clippers game or to post photos of herself with black people, including NBA legend Magic Johnson, on her Instagram account. 

"The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is on the recordings ... is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful feelings are those of Mr. Sterling. The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply disturbing and alarming," Silver said during a news conference Tuesday. 

"As for Mr. Sterling's ownership interest in the Clippers," Silver said. "I will urge the board of governors to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that happens."

Silver apologized on behalf of the NBA for Sterling's offensive comments. He also said that Sterling will pay a fine of $2.5 million. 

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Monday that he declined a chance to speak with the owner.

"I was asked, do I need to talk with Donald, and I passed, quite honestly," Rivers said, according to AP. "I don't think right now is the time or the place, for me, at least. I just took a pass."

But the Clippers coach said he still want to make sure.

"As far as believing those things? I heard what he said. Until someone tells me differently, you usually listen to what people say. I haven't given him his due process. I haven't given him an opportunity to explain himself and quite honestly right now I don't want to. I want to wait for that further judgment."

With the judgment handed down, Rivers and his players may be able to play Game 5 against Warriors at an easier position. Since the news broke, he and the team players had been extremely disappointed at their owner.

Warriors' coach Mark Jackson said his approach would be to not show up, which will make the loudest noise of it not being tolerated.

"It's unfortunate, and we cannot allow someone with these feelings to profit," he said, the AP reported.

However, Rivers acknowledged that Jackson was speaking from his heart, but he differed in whether the fans should show up for the game tonight.  

"I don't share that. I hope it's packed and people are cheering for us, the players. And they were cheering for the players before this happened. But if they feel differently, who can say they're wrong? And I'm not the one that's going to say that, I can tell you that."

Rivers said he and his team will address the crowd only it they feel it's something that will help the fans, but if not they won't do it.

"The tickets have already been sold. The fans, they're in dilemma as well," he said, the AP reported. "We want them to cheer for their players and their team. Because it's still their players and their team, and it will be their players and their team. I think from what I get from the fans I've heard from, that's how they feel, like, 'This is my team, these are my players I'm cheering for, and that's not going to change.' I hope that continues."

Rivers had also said some of the Clippers' players felt that they didn't sign up for this and they are forced to stand in the middle of it, but he will do what he can to encourage his players.

"My belief is that the longer we keep winning, the more we talk about this. I believe that is good. If we want to make a statement - I believe that is how we have to do it. I think that is the right way to do it, but that doesn't mean we still don't wrestle with it every day and every moment. That is the difficult part."

In a statement on Saturday, the Clippers said the woman who recorded the conversation is being sued by the Sterling family, accused of embezzling $1.8 million. The statement also said the woman told Sterling she would "get even."

"Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them," the Clippers said in the statement.