NBA bans Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, fines him $2.5M

Blake Murphy
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday afternoon that the league has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him the maximum allowable amount of $2.5 million.

The punishment comes as a result of racist remarks made by Sterling and caught on an audio recording, which became public late Friday and was verified by the league independently.

Silver provided a statement and then answered questions from an enormous group of assembled media at a 2 p.m. press conference at the league office in New York. Here is Silver's statement in full:

Shortly after the release of an audio recording this past Saturday morning of a conversation that allegedly included Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the NBA commenced an investigation which, among other things, included an interview of Mr. Sterling. That investigation is now complete.

The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording, and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sunday, is Mr. Sterling - and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling.

The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage. Sentiments of this kind are contrary of the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league.

I am personally distraught that the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations, and caused current and former players, coaches, fans, and partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league.

To them, and pioneers of the game like Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton, the great Bill Russell, and particularly Magic Johnson, I apologize.

Accordingly, effectively immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, he may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.

He will also be barred from attending NBA board of governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.

I am also fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution. These funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its players' association.

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

This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family. I appreciate the support and understanding of our players during this process, and I am particularly grateful for the leadership shown by coach Doc Rivers, union president Chris Paul, and Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, who has been acting as the players' representative in this matter.

We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling's views. They simply have no place in the NBA. 

Silver also indicated he will be urging the NBA Board of Governors to vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, something that requires 23 owner votes (three-quarters of the league). Silver indicated he is very confident he will get the support he needs to remove Sterling.

It doesn't seem as if there will be any trouble finding an interested purchasing party.

Sterling, the league's longest-tenured owner, who bought the Clippers in 1981, has a history of discriminatory practice. 

You can read more about the details of the case and reactions from players, legends, and owners in the storyline below.