If you're familiar with the basics of the story, here's the very latest (for all the sordid context, we have that further down as well):
The NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver is getting set to speak on the issue again Tuesday, presumably to announce the initial round of sanctions.
ICYMI, and since I just got off a plane: Adam Silver presser will be in New York tomorrow at 2 p.m. EDT.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) April 28, 2014
Meanwhile, sponsors are quickly fleeing away from the Sterling-led LA Clippers organization.
Kia, CarMax, Virgin America, and State Farm have all pulled sponsorship support of the Clippers. http://t.co/mtUGUWXYJp— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 28, 2014
Clippers coach Doc Rivers has faced the uneasy task of focusing his players during the media storm and troubling circumstances.
Doc Rivers: “They will grow from this. We live in a make-believe life in sports. …Right now this is real life, and we have to deal with it."— Jimmy Spencer (@JimmySpencerNBA) April 28, 2014
Though there have been reports that Magic Johnson might be interested in buying the Clippers out from under Sterling, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, this has also been recently called into question.
Sorry to ruin a beautiful idea, but source close to Magic says "zero, zero, zero conversations" about buying the Clips.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) April 28, 2014
If you're catching up to the story, we have a wealth of valuable information, context and commentary below:
Deadspin.com has extended audio featuring the rest of the 15-minute conversation.
Sterling expressed frustration that his girlfriend associated with "minorities" in public and said he didn't approve of her posting pictures online via Instagram. The recording is unsurprisingly garnering plenty of attention.
Some of Sterling's comments centered on NBA legend Magic Johnson: "Don't put him [Magic] on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him to my games."
Johnson joined ABC's NBA Countdown crew Sunday to address the issue.
Michael Jordan, a man who avoided controversy at all costs during his playing career, also spoke out strongly.
Jordan: "In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) April 27, 2014
Michael Jordan: "I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport."— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) April 27, 2014
Michael Jordan in statement: "As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views."— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) April 27, 2014
Michael Jordan: "As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA - or anywhere else - for the kind of racism ..."— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) April 27, 2014
Michael Jordan: "I’m confident that Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly."— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) April 27, 2014
Even President Barack Obama leveled criticism at Sterling.
More Obama at news conference: “I have confidence that the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, a good man, will address this."— Scott Howard-Cooper (@SHowardCooper) April 27, 2014
In the immediate aftermath of the comments becoming public, Johnson told TMZ, "It's a shame that Donald Sterling feels that way about African-Americans. He has a team full of amazing African-American basketball players that are working to bring a championship to Clippers fans. The Clippers also have a strong minority fan base."
He also posted his thoughts on Twitter.
.@cjbycookie and I will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 26, 2014
I feel sorry for my friends Coach Doc Rivers and Chris Paul that they have to work for a man that feels that way about African Americans.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 26, 2014
Either way, AP Sports and USA Today's Sam Amick report that the league, per spokesman Michael Bass, is already investigating the matter.
RT @NBAPR: Bass: "We are in the process of conducting a full investigation into the audio recording obtained by TMZ. (More)— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 26, 2014
RT @NBAPR: More Bass: "The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive, but at this time we have no further information."— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 26, 2014
Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the comments Saturday evening.
Silver says NBA has "broad powers in place" and "a range of sanctions" available. Declines to specify.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) April 27, 2014
Adam Silver: "Donald Sterling should be afforded due process, just as any player or executive would be."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 27, 2014
Aside from drawing presidential notice, heat from the commissioner's office and the scorn of every prominent NBA figure, Sterling's comments could have far-reaching practical effects for the franchise he owns.
NBA agent @ChrisLuchey says that he will steer his clients away from the L.A. Clippers due to Donald Sterling's comments.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 27, 2014
Mark Jackson on whether he would work for the Sterling Clippers: "I can not right now. Knowing the mentality, I can not."— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 27, 2014
Doc on whether he could continue working with Sterling: "I don't know yet."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 27, 2014
The Clippers are talking about it too.
Clippers release statement about recording said to be Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments: http://t.co/RFn3ixDFjk— The Associated Press (@AP) April 26, 2014
Clippers release statement defending Donald Sterling and saying he isn't racist. Should also include, "Please don't Google his name, okay?"— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 26, 2014
According to a source close to the situation, #Clippers players held a meeting late last night regarding Donald Sterling story.— Vincent Bonsignore (@DailyNewsVinny) April 26, 2014
TMZ is reporting that, according to Stephen A. Smith, some Clippers considered not playing in Game 4 on Sunday:
ESPN reporter Stephen A. Smith says several members of the L.A. Clippers considered not taking the floor tomorrow against the Golden State Warriors as a protest against team owner Donald Sterling. Smith says several players on the team are FURIOUS after hearing the comments Sterling made to his girlfriend in an audio tape published by TMZ Sports. Its (sic) unclear what will happen tomorrow — but Reverend Jesse Jackson has suggested the team employ a "symbolic expression" to show their disdain and disapproval for Sterling.
Instead, they used their shooting shirts and matching black attire to make a non-verbal, preliminary protest statement.
"There seems to be proof" regarding Donald Sterling, Doc says— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) April 28, 2014
Doc: "I really have a lot of faith in Adam (Silver) and the league."— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) April 28, 2014
Chris Paul has already responded in his capacity as president of the National Basketball Players Association, per Howard Beck:
On behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, this is a very serious issue which we will address aggressively. We have asked Mayor Kevin Johnson to expand his responsibilities with the NBPA, to determine our response and our next steps. As players, we owe it to our teams and our fans to keep our focus on our game, the playoffs, and the drive to the Finals.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, previously tapped to search for the NBPA's executive director, will also spearhead the NBPA's efforts concerning Sterling. He addressed the process as well:
The reported comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling are reprehensible and unacceptable. The National Basketball Players Association must and will play a very active role in determining how this issue is addressed. There needs to be an immediate investigation and if the reports are true, there needs to be strong and swift action taken. I have spoken with NBPA President Chris Paul and will be leading the NBPA in addressing the implications of this serious matter.
Center DeAndre Jordan already has to some degree courtesy of Instagram.
Chris Bosh & James Jones both waiting 2 hear more. But if Sterling said what has been reported, they say league must take action.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 26, 2014
Chris Bosh on Sterling: "I think the league will step in for sure. Because we are trying to grow the game globally. It's not just L.A."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 26, 2014
LeBron James had an even stronger statement to make, echoing many voices:
LeBron: "There is no room for Donald Sterling in our league. There's just no room for him."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 26, 2014
LeBron: "It's very disrespectful and it's very appalling."— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 26, 2014
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also spoke out against Sterling, but reiterated that he doesn't want to become a part of the story.
To be clear,I abhor all forms of racism or any discrimination. Ths issue shouldnt be about talking heads, it should be about substance only.— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) April 28, 2014
I dont expect anyone to come out and say they support a racist. This should be about racism in America, not a talking head procession.— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) April 28, 2014
I couldn't play for him— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) April 26, 2014
DWest on Sterling: "U can’t be naïve about the thoughts and mindsets of people in this country. U just can’t be naïve about this (stuff)."— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 26, 2014
DWest on how #NBA should act: "(Sterling) is who he is,they ain’t going 2 change the man. The man’s going 2 go 2 his grave being who he is."— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 26, 2014
NBA owners have registered their disapproval as well. Miami Heat owner Micky Arison and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive both tweeted sharp rebukes of Sterling.
HEAT Managing General Partner @MickyArison on Donald Sterling: "The comments reported by TMZ were offensive, appalling and very sad."— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 26, 2014
Arison (cont'd): "The @NBA is investigating and we will refrain from commenting further on this situation during the investigation."— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 26, 2014
As the story spreads, so too has universal condemnation of Sterling's comments.
Donald T Sterling is a flat out Racist....he will never see another dollar from me!!! This is disgusting....he ... http://t.co/BGfowaRPix— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) April 26, 2014
Donald Sterling has the mentality of an antebellum slave master: he makes $ off Blacks but doesn't see them as equals deserving of respect— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) April 26, 2014
I know coaches & players play for each other & especially THE FANS, but it would be hard for me to play another game for Sterling. #NBA— James Worthy (@James_Worthy42) April 26, 2014
*pukes* RT @talkhoops Donald Sterling purchased the Clippers for $12.5 million in 1981 and will sell for over $1 billion someday. America!— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 26, 2014
Jermaine O'Neal on Sterling: "He definitely has to be penalized for this, no question. And it has to be severe." http://t.co/L15syV9Hf5— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) April 26, 2014
Pop on the Donald Sterling audio and alleged racist remarks: "Obviously it's disgusting."— Jeff Caplan (@Caplan_NBA) April 26, 2014
He may own the team but they belong to us. Go Clippers!— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) April 27, 2014
Stephen A. Smith said he was "appalled," but "wasn't too surprised."
I've talked to several players off the record who've said that they wouldn't play for the Clippers as long as Donald Sterling is the owner.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 26, 2014
Ernie Johnson: "If it's true, there's no place in the league for Donald Sterling, in my mind."— Chris Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) April 26, 2014
Other analysts have covered the story and its implications.
Column: Burden of action on Sterling isn't on CP3 and Doc Rivers. It's where it's always belonged; NBA and owners. http://t.co/IvlcinMsJa— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 26, 2014
New @ HP: Donald Sterling and Using the Black Body http://t.co/ak8K7Hws5q— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 26, 2014
The fact that Sterling has such a sketchy history also sheds light on the comments. The extent to which we aren't more surprised is a sad commentary on the Clippers owner.
Donald Sterling: evicting blacks from apartments, courtside seats, and his girlfriend's instagram since forever.— netw3rk (@netw3rk) April 26, 2014
If NBA didn't hit Donald Sterling when he paid largest federal housing discrimination settlement ever, I don't expect much now— J.A. Adande (@jadande) April 26, 2014
My point is this TMZ story isnt even Top 10 in worst things Donald Sterling's said/done. But hey, they got Capone on taxes, so....— J.A. Adande (@jadande) April 26, 2014
As Phil Jackson once said of Sterling "How many incidents do we have on file?" http://t.co/s1GmpFW66m— J.A. Adande (@jadande) April 26, 2014
The big question going forward is how the league can, and should, respond.
Forcing Donald Sterling out of NBA will be hard. He might sue NBA for breach of franchise agreement & sue other owners under antitrust law.— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) April 26, 2014
So long as Sterling remains the Clippers owner, there will be a bad taste surrounding the organization. It may take an all-out coup to get him out of the picture, but stay tuned for what happens next.
The Clippers are 14 very realistic wins away from Donald Sterling being handed the Larry O'Brien trophy.— RealGM (@RealGM) April 26, 2014
Hopefully that's a scene we can avoid, even if the Clippers do win. And hopefully, the planned award from the NAACP doesn't happen.
Donald Sterling -- Ironically Slated to Receive NAACP Award Next Month http://t.co/bfqDM3trYL— TMZ (@TMZ) April 26, 2014
As bizarre as that honor sounds, there's an explanation.
People rightfully wondering: Why in hell was NAACP honoring Sterling? Always been told this: His game ticket donations rewarded w/ photo-ops— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 27, 2014
Fortunately, interim president Lorraine Miller spoke out, and the NAACP won't be honoring Sterling after all. Per Darren Rovell of ESPN, Miller said, "If you're silent about this, then you are accepting this. And people have got to say that this is not good and do something about it."
The reaction at Staples Center Tuesday night will go a long way in determining what immediate direction this team is headed in.