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Kevin Johnson demands Donald Sterling be suspended indefinitely

Apr 29, 2014, 3:25 AM EDT

Adam Silver Adam Silver

Adam Silver will step to the podium in Manhattan Tuesday with a lot of pressure on his decision — in the wake of the racist comments allegedly from Donald Sterling NBA players are up in arms, sponsors are pulling out, fans are outraged and the league is suffering a huge black eye in the middle of what should be a celebrated playoffs.

Adding to the pressure — players union representative Kevin Johnson is demanding Sterling be suspended indefinitely.

Johnson, who is aiding the union in its search for an executive director, was asked by union president Chris Paul to help them through this situation. Johnson took to Facebook to ask for the stiffest penalty available for Sterling. Here are some highlights from his comments.

As an African-American man I know firsthand that racism is still alive and well in our country. But as a former NBA player I also take heart in the fact that sports is one venue in which we can bridge the racial divide. Why? Because when people play on a team together, it unites them regardless of their differences. I didn’t care if a teammate was white, Black, Latino or even green. What I cared about was whether they worked with me to win. When fans rally around a team you see people of all walks of life hugging, screaming together, high-fiving and backslapping without regard to their color, creed or nationality….

Current and former players are in strong agreement that Mr. Sterling and his views have no place in our league. To that end, the NBPA has asked Commissioner Silver to impose the most severe sanctions possible under the NBA bylaws. We may not have the power to force Mr. Sterling to sell his team, but make no mistake, we believe that Mr. Sterling should no longer have the privilege of being an owner of an NBA team. After all, how can we expect any player (the majority of whom are African-American) to want to work for him?

At a minimum, Mr. Sterling should be suspended indefinitely, banned from games, slapped with the maximum fine possible, and forced to extract himself from basketball operations. He should be required to name someone from his executive team or family to take over all duties related to the Clippers.


I think Johnson and the players will get their wish.

Silver has the backing of owners who are coming out in droves in opposition to Sterling (something they should have done long ago, but that’s another discussion). The other members of the club are done with Sterling, which gives Silver leverage.

Silver has to do something big and dramatic. What Johnson is doing is asking for the best he can do under the NBA’s constitution — a fine ($1 million or $2.5 million, depending upon who is telling you what is written in the secret NBA constitution) and a suspension.

Then the league office can look for a way to pressure Sterling to sell the team. That will not be easy (it’s not in his nature to sell, and he is litigious and will fight this). That will take time. So Silver will take the biggest steps he can.

  1. jusdre313 - Apr 29, 2014 at 5:23 AM

    hes got to go and be gone for GOOD

    • stayhigh_247 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:57 AM

      The thing that gets me, is you know he’s not the only owner in pro sports with those same racist views.

      • jusdre313 - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        but hes probably the only one with a HISTORY of this crap… going back a decade.. multiple lawsuits all from discrimination or lack of pay…its about Donald Sterling, not other owners. i wish folks would stop trying to steer the issue into another direction…

  2. draconian1111 - Apr 29, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    Sorry, I have a problem here.
    As much as I dislike his comments – they were on a phone call.
    How many of us would like what we THINK are our private comments and thoughts broadcast to the media?
    We don’t have to like what he has to say – but – I HOPE this is considered protected speech – as in freedom of speech.
    Before you want to hang this man – think of the things you have said when you thought nobody was listening. Would you like your telephone calls aired to the public?
    We don’t have to like what this man had to say – but the FACT is that his comments have to be protected – because if his are not – neither are YOURS.
    Anybody want to throw a stone here? Hmmmmmmm?

    • packergator - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:49 AM

      Freedom of speech means that you can’t be arrested for your opinions and beliefs; you have no expectation of free or “protected speech” or due process in your job. He’s a representative of the league, and these comments hurt the NBA “shield.” You think that your company would want to keep you around if you had made these comments and they became public?

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      Freedom of speech means that he won’t be arrested, prosecuted or charged for what he said.

      It doesn’t mean he can’t face punishment at work, or social pressure.

      I suggest you go tell your boss to shove it up his/her a**, then when they try to fire you, tell them you were just using your right to free speech, and that what you said was protected.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 10:56 AM

        Also, I would hope that most people don’t hold virulent racist views, even in their private phone conversations.

    • mackcarrington - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      It wasn’t a phone conversation. They were in a room together. Oh, and new info says that Sterling WANTED her to tape their conversations. She reportedly has 100’s of hours of him on tape.

  3. omniusprime - Apr 29, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    Time to show racist republicons like don sterling that their money doesn’t buy them immunity from racist comments. No surprise that this racist rant came from a republicon. About time the NBA shows some proper morals by forcing this racist republicon jerk to sell the team and get lost. I hope the Warriors send the Clippers fishing!

    I sure hope the Lakers are smart enough to get Doc Rivers, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to join the best NBA team in LA while swapping them Trash Nash and Dumbtoni.

    • dexterismyhero - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      So there are no racist democrats? No racist Black or Latino people? You sir are a giant d-bag and racist yourself.

      • dexterismyhero - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:51 AM

        And furthermore, he wrote a check and the racist, democratic NAACP was going to give him an award. Did they return the check?

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 29, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Donald Sterling donated to Gray Davis’ campaign, the great Democratic savior of California.

  4. campcouch - Apr 29, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    I doubt the millionaire mayor of Sacramento and paid players rep is experiencing much in the discrimination area these days.

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