Updates from Monday, May 19
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report broke down the latest developments in the NBA's efforts to remove Donald Sterling as owners of the Clippers:
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million following an investigation into alleged racist comments he made over the phone to his ex-girlfriend, V. Stiviano.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the penalties at a press conference on Tuesday, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:
The fine levied against Silver is the maximum allowed under the league's constitution, via Ken Berger of CBS Sports:
Silver said he will urge the NBA Board of Governors to force a sale of the Clippers, which would require a 75 percent approval vote, via Berger:
Robert Baum of the Associated Press indicates there is already an owner who has announced which way he'll vote:
Silver announced that the NBA concluded its investigation with the belief that it was Sterling's voice on the audiotape, via Berger:
Sterling confirmed it was his voice on the tape, via ABC news:
Silver made it clear the league stood together in its opposition of the owner:
Finally, Silver expressed the hope that no long-term damage would come to the league or the Clippers organization, via Adam Zagoria of SNY.com and Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:
Following the announcement, messages of support came in from around the league:
NBPA Vice President Roger Mason said that players were prepared to boycott playoff games had Silver not levied the punishments that he did, via Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:
While Mason is happy with today's decision, just removing Donald Sterling won't be enough, according to Spears:
Chris Paul briefly spoke about Silver's decision, via Markazi:
The Clippers changed their team website following the news, issuing a statement of unity before Game 5 vs. Golden State, via ESPN's SportsCenter:
The organization also refused to issue a statement, via Markazi:
On April 25, TMZ Sports reported that it had Sterling on tape chastising Stiviano for "associating with black people" in public and through social media. He sounded particularly upset that she would invite Magic Johnson to attend Clippers games.
Johnson reacted swiftly to Sterling's comments:
Harriet Ryan of the LA Times provided Stiviano's reaction:
V. Stiviano, the woman at the center of the Donald Sterling scandal, said she was “very saddened” by the NBA’s decision to ban him from the sport for life, her attorney said Tuesday.
V. Stiviano “never wanted any harm to Donald,” Calabasas lawyer Mac Nehoray of Calabasas told The Times.
He said the 31-year-old is still reeling from the release of the recordings in which Sterling chastises her for associating with African Americans, including Magic Johnson. He said that “someone released it for money” but it wasn’t Stiviano.
“My client is devastated that this got out,” he said.
The league opened an investigation on April 27, per ESPN.com. At the time, NBA spokesman Mike Bass said:
We are in the process of conducting a full investigation into the audio recording obtained by TMZ. The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive, but at this time we have no further information.
Since then, multiple companies have cut ties with the organization, including Red Bull, Kia, Virgin America and Adidas, per various sources:
Sterling's remarks have been met with universal scorn, especially considering this isn't the first time his insular and outdated beliefs have come to light. Deadspin's Timothy Burke compiled the racist comments the Clippers owner has made in the years leading up to this incident.
Former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor said that he had to endure over two decades of Sterling's racism, via ESPN's Max Bretos:
On Monday, head coach Doc Rivers admitted that he declined to speak with Sterling about the situation, per ESPN's Arash Markazi:
Earlier on, Rivers also voiced how upset he was with Sterling and indicated that some of the players discussed—albeit briefly—boycotting games, per Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears:
Chris Paul, who is the president of the National Basketball Players Association, released a statement on the NBPA's official website shortly after the audio was leaked:
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 a drive to the Finals.
CSNBayArea.com's Ray Ratto was among many who compared this situation to what former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott faced back in 1996:
In an interview on ESPN, via the Chicago Tribune, Schott said of Adolf Hitler, "Everybody knows he was good at the beginning but he just went too far." That was four years after a similar incident in which she admitted to having a swastika armband at her home.
Political analyst Jeff Greenfield pointed out that Major League Baseball didn't take the Reds from Schott outright, but it made her position so untenable that she had no other recourse but to relinquish control, which she did in 1999:
Nate Jones of Goodwin Sports wondered if the NBA will ultimately try the same tactic with Sterling:
Zach Lowe of Grantland had more on how the sale of the Clippers might work:
Silver was presented with a monumental decision barely three months into his tenure as NBA commissioner. His disciplinary action against Sterling sets the tone for the rest of his time at the helm and will undoubtedly be a part of his eventual legacy.
Clippers fans, and sports fans in general, will be pleased to move on from this ugly incident. All things considered, it's likely just a matter of time before Sterling is forced to relinquish ownership of the Clippers.