Donald Sterling has been banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million after the Los Angeles Clippers owner was recorded making a racist rant against blacks.
In the audio comments released this weekend, Sterling admonished his girlfriend V. Stiviano for associating with black men in public. The comments led to widespread criticism, with even Clippers players taking off their warm-ups jerseys and leaving them at center court in protest.
Now the NBA has come down hard on Donald Sterling, announcing Tuesday that he will face a lifetime ban as well as a $2.5 million fine.
New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had promised quick action on Sterling, and in Tuesday’s comments, he confirmed that the voice heard on the audio indeed belonged to the Clippers owner. V. Stiviano had previously confirmed that it was Sterling on the recording.
In the nearly 10-minute snippet released, Donald Sterling not only chided Stiviano for being seen with black men, but also seemed to take pride in “supporting” his black players.
“Do you know that you have a whole team that’s black that plays for you?” Stiviano asked.
“You just, do I know?” he told Stiviano in response. “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have—Who makes the game? Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?”
The league wasted little time in acting, making its ruling just three days after the audio was first released.
“I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA,” Silver said.
Though the lifetime ban is unprecedented in the NBA, the league’s bylaws reserve power to expel owners under limited circumstances. It is believed Silver is acting within Article 35 of the NBA Constitution, which gives the commissioner power to indefinitely suspend owners for “conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the association.”