NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life and will be forced to sell the team, pending a board of governors vote, over racist remarks on a leaked video.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Silver said the NBA concluded the recordings were accurate and that Sterling has been banned for life from the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA. Sterling is henceforth barred from attending games, practices, team facilities and board of governors meetings. Silver also fined Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum allowed by NBA bylaws, with the funds going to anti-discrimination efforts. Additionally, Silver said he will urge the league's board of governors to exercise its powers and exorcise Sterling as an owner from the NBA. That would require a 3/4 vote, as we learned yesterday. Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported that Sterling will be banned for life.
Silver sounded like a man determined to make sure this ghost never haunts the league again. "I will urge the board of governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything to ensure it happens," he told reporters.
During the following Q&A session, a reporter asked Silver whether he considered the possibility Donald Sterling could profit off a team he owns while banned from the NBA, in case the Board of Governors votes to keep him. "I fully expect to get the support I need from other NBA owners to remove him," Silver said.
The response to Silver's punishment so far has been overwhelmingly positive:
Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 29, 2014
In other news, "several groups" are already lining up to buy the Clippers, according to Wojnarowski.
The Clippers home page looks like this right now:
Doc Rivers also released a statement supporting Silver's decision, and urging fans to help them move forward. “My belief is that the longer we keep winning, the more we talk about this. I believe that is good," Rivers said. "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.
The decision made by Silver was, frankly, the right one. Sterling had lost the confidence of his players, coaches and executives. Had he not used his full powers to eliminate Sterling from the NBA — or at least do the best he could — he risked being framed as a racism defender. "The players were ready to boycott," said NBA Player's Union representative Roger Mason after Silver's press conference. As Keith Olbermann explained last night, the players would have eventually forced his hand anyway, and the league would face two black eyes today instead of one. This way, the league can heal and move on, free of the stains that marred this weekend.