NEW: Warriors coach: Players talked of boycott prior to Sterling decision
NBA bans Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, fines him $2.5 million for racist remarks
Sterling admitted making reviled comments first heard on TMZ, the NBA commissioner says
Adam Silver urges owners to vote to "force" Sterling to sell his team
The NBA’s commissioner came down hard Tuesday on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, ordering him out of his team’s business and pushing to force him to sell over racist remarks that caused a firestorm since becoming public days ago.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver detailed Sterling’s punishment at a news conference eight hours before the Clippers’ fifth game of the playoff series with the Warriors.
NBA owners, players and others had called for swift, firm punishment since TMZ posted the audio featuring the incendiary comments.
“I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star. Johnson led the players union’s efforts on this matter.
Under the lifetime ban, Sterling is prohibited from NBA games or practices, stepping foot inside any Clippers facility, taking part in business or personnel decisions, or having a role in league activities such as attending NBA Board of Governors meetings.
Silver said he’d do anything in his power to compel the NBA Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
If Sterling does sell the team, he’d profit considerably: He bought the Clippers for $12 million in 1981, and the team is now worth $575 million, according to Forbes magazine.
Rather than water cooler discussions of exciting NBA playoff action, people are talking about racist remarks by a team owner, said Gabe Feldman, head of Tulane University’s sports law program.
Estimating the team may be worth closer to $1 billion, Feldman added, “He may get a lot of money from the sale, but I think it will allow the NBA to shift their focus.”
That’s what Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday night, commending Silver as “fantastic” for making “a decision that really was the right one.” While the players aren’t rejoicing, they are breathing easier knowing what happened earlier in the day, he said.
“They were just happy that it was a resolution,” Rivers said, expressing hope that playing the game will be a “safe haven” for all involved. “… We’re all in a better place because of this.”
’Now the healing process begins’
On the recording, a man and woman argue about photos posted to Instagram in which she appears with African-Americans. The man says he doesn’t want the woman bringing any black people to games with her.
The sports website Deadspin on Sunday posted five additional minutes of what it said was part of the same audio recording.
Neither website has said how it obtained the recordings; the law firm representing Stiviano said she didn’t release them to TMZ.
Clippers President Andy Roeser suggested Saturday that the audio was aimed at “getting even” with Sterling over a lawsuit.