Editor’s note: This statement was delivered Tuesday, April 29, by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver regarding the punishment for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who made racially derogatory and racist comments on a recording later released by the website TMZ.
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 to 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, effective 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.