The NBA announced Tuesday that it has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined $2.5 million, the maximum amount, after he was recorded making racist comments.
“Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver during a news conference in New York.
Silver also said he would immediately recommend to the NBA Board of Governors that they force a sale of the Clippers and that he would do “everything in [his] power to ensure that happens.”
Sterling, 80, has owned the Clippers since 1981.
The money from the $2.5 million fine will be donated to anti-discrimination groups, Silver said.
“As part of the lifetime ban, Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity,” said Silver.
The decision comes after days of public outrage directed at Sterling after an audio recording surfaced over the weekend that allegedly contained his voice saying racist comments to his then-girlfriend Vanessa Stiviano.
The tape recorded a man’s voice, which the NBA said is Sterling, telling Stiviano not to post pictures of herself with black men to Instagram or bring black men to Clippers games. One of the men mentioned is Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
“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 to principles of inclusion and respect that inform our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league,” he said.
Silver mentioned the league’s role as a pioneer in diversity and acknowledged famous black players including Johnson.