- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million as a result of racist comments he admitted to making that recently surfaced, league commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday.

Sterling may not attend any games or practices and may not participate in any business or personnel decisions involving the team or the league, said Silver, who also said he will do everything he can to get the league’s board of governors to strip Sterling of his ownership stake in the team.

Comments by Sterling on a tape recording that surfaced recently instruct a woman, V. Stiviano, not to bring black people to Clippers games or include them on her social media account, among other things.

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“The views expressed by Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful; that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage,” Silver said. “This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family.”

The $2.5 million fine is “the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution,” according to Silver, which he said will be donated to anti-discrimination efforts.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reads a statement during a news conference, in New York, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Silver announced that he is banning Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling for life from the Clippers organization, in response to racist comments the league says he made in an audio recording. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reads a statement during a news conference, in ... more >

Silver said Tuesday the league’s investigation into the recording was complete and that Sterling admitted to Silver that it was his voice on the tape.

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The commissioner said he will do everything in his power to try to force Sterling to give up ownership of the team, which he purchased in 1981. Three-quarters of the league’s owners must approve of such a move.

“I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him,” Silver said.

The Washington Wizards’ ownership group, led by Ted Leonsis, released a statement early Tuesday evening praising the decision.

“Monumental Sports & Entertainment has a diverse ownership group, and we respect and value that diversity,” the statement read. “Our group applauds the swift, strict actions and recommendations set forth today by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. Commissioner Silver is taking a strong stance, but all of us need to play a role as we strive to eliminate discrimination and intolerance.”

Wizards coach Randy Wittman echoed those sentiments prior to his team’s playoff game in Chicago on Tuesday night.

“Forget about if it’s the NBA,” Wittman said. “There’s no place for that in society today, and I think the commissioner took a stance that he was sending a message — one that should have been sent. I think now is the time to let things happen, the due process, and now is the time to let things heal a little bit. … I was pleased with what I saw today.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban earlier called Sterling’s alleged remarks “abhorrent,” but warned of a potential slippery slope in attempting to police what team owners can and cannot say.

“There’s no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with,” Cuban said. “But at the same time, that’s a decision I make. I think you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope.”

Cuban, however, wrote on Twitter after the announcement: “I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling.”

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