The NBA levied one of the stiffest fines and brought down a just ban on an owner of one of its franchises on Tuesday, April 29. Commissioner Adam Silver -- who has only been in office for two months after taking over for David Stern -- issued a $2.5 million fine and a lifetime ban to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks that Sterling admitted he made on an audiotape.
Silver himself had heard Sterling’s comments on the tape before making his decision. Silver has also received a groundswell of support from NBA owners -- including Utah Jazz CEO Greg Miller who issued a statement on Tuesday supporting Silver’s decision.
Silver’s lifetime ban includes the following edicts, according to a release the NBA issued on Tuesday. Sterling is not allowed to attend any NBA games or practices, nor can he physically be at any Clippers facilities -- nor participate in any business or player-personnel decisions with the team. He’ll also be barred from any NBA Board of Governors meetings and from participating in other league activity.
In other words, Sterling’s days with the Clippers -- barring an appeal -- are over. Silver added in his decision that he will urge the Board of Governors to force a sale on Sterling’s team and that the NBA’s decision was based on a “conclusion that Mr. Sterling violated league rules through his expressions of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league.”
The Jazz, along with other NBA teams, supported Silver’s decision 100 percent. He issued a statement on behalf of his family and the Jazz Tuesday.
“On behalf of the Miller family, we support the decisive action by Commissioner Silver and the NBA to reaffirm that there is no place for racism and hatred in our league. The Jazz organization and all the teams in the NBA should act as national leaders in promoting inclusiveness and diversity. We have a responsibility in our communities to fight against discrimination and ignorance and showcase sports as an example of respect and tolerance. While this situation has been inexcusable, I hope it serves the greater purpose of reinforcing our vigilance against this type of behavior,” Miller said in a statement.
In an unprecedented move, Silver also issued a letter to fans on Tuesday, apologizing on behalf of the NBA for Sterling’s views and urging them to continue supporting the ongoing NBA Playoffs.