NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced a lifetime ban and a $2.5MM fine for Clippers owner Donald Sterling. The NBA’s investigation found that it was indeed Sterling expressing racially charged statements on a recording. Sterling has been fined the maximum amount allowable in the NBA’s constitution. Silver will urge the board of governors to force Sterling to sell the team, and the commissioner said he’ll “do everything in my power to ensure that happens.”
Sterling admitted that it was his voice on the recording, Silver said, asserting that the NBA has the authority, with a vote of three quarters of the league’s owners, to force Sterling to sell. The effort to force him out will begin immediately, according to the commissioner, and he expects to receive the support from owners necessary to remove the longtime Clippers boss.
Silver believes the players will be satisfied with the decision, adding that he’s had multiple conversations with Kevin Johnson, who’s acting as the union’s voice during the Sterling saga. The NBA is not considering letting any of the Clippers out of their contracts, according to Silver.
The key response may come from Clippers coach and executive Doc Rivers, who’s expressed uncertainty about whether he’d return to the team if Sterling were to stay as owner. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports suggested earlier today that the Clippers players might follow his lead and ask for trades if Rivers were to leave.
Rumors have linked Magic Johnson to the team as a potential buyer, and Silver said today that Johnson is “always welcome as an owner in this league.” Johnson took to Twitter to express satisfaction with the NBA’s verdict.
The specter of a lawsuit from Sterling remains, and Silver said Sterling didn’t express remorse over his comments. Sterling, an attorney, is notoriously litigious, and there was speculation that the threat of a lawsuit would prompt Silver to opt for a light punishment.
Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images. Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, Chris Mannix of SI.com, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, and A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com provided detail via Twitter.