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Clippers owner Donald Sterling suspended for life, fined $2.5 million, league will try to force sale of team

Apr 29, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT

Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been suspended for life — he cannot be involved in operations of the team, nor can he attend games or league events — plus has been fined $2.5 million by the league, and finally the league will try to force sale of team, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday.

“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 the NBA had confirmed that it was Sterling’s voice on an audio tape (first released by TMZ) making racist statements (Sterling admitted it, Silver said). Comments on the tape included asking his girlfriend (who is half black, half Latina) to stop bringing black people to watch his Clippers play. Including Magic Johnson.

RELATED: Magic among bidders who could buy Clippers  |  Silver aces first test

Sterling has a long history of racist actions and statements (many documented in court papers) and while those may have been more egregious and public than this tape, this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Silver said he had to act. He added that while this was a private conversation it is public now and the league has good ground to act.

“My message to the Clippers fans is that this league is far bigger than any one owner, any one coach, any one player,” Silver said. “This institution has been around for a long time and will stand for a long time. I have complete confidence in Doc Rivers, in the basketball management, and the players deserve their support.”

To force Sterling to sell — or sell the team out from under him, essentially — three-quarters of the owners have to vote to remove him. Silver said he did not poll the owners but the ones he spoke to support this action. It’s hard to imagine the owners not voting for that. Silver said the process to do this will begin immediately.

RELATEDClippers release statement in support of Silver’s actions

Sterling also has a long history of not selling his properties and being very litigious. Most people around the league expect him to fight the league’s actions legally and for as long as he can. This is not going to be smooth.

That said, with Sterling pushed to the side effective immediately the Clippers released this statement.

“We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”

179 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. roseann894 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Sterling needs a new agent. It’s been a good 2 hours since he was banished, and he still doesn’t have his own show on Fox News.

  2. 1historian - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    Mr. Sterling has a marked resemblance to the northern end of a southbound horse – this is true.

    The things he said are rather unattractive – this too is true.

    He has the right to say them – this too is true.

    The tootsie who recorded them and got them out there to get this whole thing rolling – the jury is still out on her.

    The checks don’t bounce – this is true.

    He has a life time achievement award from the NAACP – this is not only true this is downright hilarious.

    In the end this is not about what’s right, but – as the commish’s quick statement showed and which will become increasingly apparent as the dust settles – this is all about MONEY. Lots of MONEY, and 5 gets you 10 that sooner or later magic will make a move to buy the team, and all morally superior people will put another notch on their gun handles.

    This post probably won’t last long, so I would just ask you all who read it this – read a description of an abortion at 6 months – especially the part about the machine sucking the brains out of the struggling child, and they do struggle at that age.

    Free speech takes another knee to the groin.

    Where is the ACLU when you need them,?

    • jwbiii - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      Freedom of speech limits the scope of Congress’ lawmaking abilities. Doesn’t say a word about about the NBA. There are plenty of things people can say that will get them in trouble in a work scenario. Sterling did that.

  3. ProBasketballPundit - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    Adam Silver really missed an opportunity to ban Joey Crawford for life as well.

  4. 1historian - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    “He among you who is without sin – let him cast the first stone.”

    Who said that?

    That commissioner has HUGE ears – almost as big as mine.

    When the dust settles from this, and it will, it will be come increasingly apparent that this was mostly about – MONEY. Lots of it – the race card was just the best way to play it.

    Bill Shakespeare nailed this a few centuries ago – Much Ado About Nothing.

  5. dam1999sam - Apr 30, 2014 at 12:19 AM

    I remember when Shaq mocked Yao Ming for being Chinese. The NBA really threw the book at…oh wait, they did absolutely nothing.

    • mackcarrington - Apr 30, 2014 at 3:25 AM

      Was Shaq the owner of a team then? I fail to see the comparison.

    • kgsmith - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      thats because its not racist when a black person does something offensive.. look at Larry Johnsons comments the other day about an all black basketball league.. where are Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton on that comment?

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