Donald Sterling got exactly what he deserved for his racist remarks caught on audio from the NBA on April 29. The much maligned Los Angeles Clipper owner was handed a lifetime ban and fined $2.5 million, by NBA commissioner Tuesday afternoon. Silver added that the NBA will try to force him to sell the club as well.
“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver said. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.”
Silver said a league investigation confirmed it was the NBA's longest-tenured owner was in fact the person on the audiotapes that were released over the weekend. Silver added that Sterling finally came around to admitting that it was him on the audio. Comments on the tape included asking his girlfriend, who is half black and half Mexican, to stop bringing black people to watch his Clippers play, including Magic Johnson.
The ban, which is effective immediately, bars Sterling from attending any NBA games or practices, being present at any Clippers office or facility, or participating in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He also cannot participate in any league business going forward.
Sterling has a history of making racist remarks.
· In 2009 Sterling paid $2.75 million to settle a federal housing discrimination lawsuit, the largest sum in American history paid for such a suit.
· In 2003 the Housing Rights Center and a group of tenants sued Sterling and his real estate company for discrimination against blacks and Latinos in rental practices. Among the bombs in the complaint was that Sterling said “Hispanics smoke, drink, and just hang around the building.” Sterling settled the suit.
· In 2004 one of the Clipper assistant coaches had prostate cancer surgery and Sterling refused to pay for the $70,000 operation (the Clippers players pitched in to get it done).
· Sterling was so frustrated with the play of Clipper Baron Davis he heckled him during the 2010 season.
· Long-time Clipper GM Elgin Baylor sued Sterling for wrongful terminate — a lawsuit Sterling won —but that lawsuit was filled with details of Sterling’s alleged behavior in 2009.
According to Jeff Pearlman, there was the time Sterling was drunk with a woman on his arm at LAX when he showed up to interview Rollie Massimino for the Clippers coaching job and asked the college legend “I wanna know why you think you can coach these n———-."
Sterling's lawyer, Robert Platt, declined comment when asked by ESPN whether Sterling would dispute or respond to the NBA's actions. However, a lawsuit by Sterling seems likely.
The Clippers said that they expect to work closely with the NBA in order to determine who will run the franchise going forward.
If the Clippers are successful in forcing Sterling into selling the team there are no shortage of suitors.
Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) of Yahoo Sports, tweeted that “Several groups with desire to purchase Clippers are already stepping forward, with a bidding war expected to exceed $1 billion for Clippers”. (April 29). Wojnarowski added that Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners would be among the frontrunners in the pursuit of the team.
Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for $15 million.
Los Angeles and the Golden State Warriors are tied 2-2 in their first round series. Game five is set for April 29.