Photo: Courtesy of NBA.
At a press conference earlier today, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million. This ban follows severe accusations that Sterling allegedly told his girlfriend not to bring black people to games, along with several other racist remarks. Though the real-estate mogul has a history of notorious behavior and insensitive comments, Silver noted his decision comes now because it's the first time he's had "hard evidence" to take action. "We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling's views," Silver said in a statement. "They simply have no place in the NBA."
In order to remove Sterling as a team owner, however, the NBA Board of Governors (consisting of other team owners) must reach a three-fourths consensus on the issue. Silver is "strongly urging" the board to force the sale of the Clippers. Unfortunately, Sterling also stands to gain a huge profit by the sale of the team. He bought the team for $12 million in 1981, and now it's valued at $575 million. But, it's also important to note that since Sterling's alleged remarks became public this past weekend, the Clippers lost a number of major sponsors, including Virgin America, Red Bull, Kia, CarMax, Amtrak, and State Farm.
Big-name players like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson have all voiced their support of Silver's decision. The Clippers site has been updated to reflect the unity of the players. And, as Roger Mason, Jr., the first vice president of the NBPA, stated after the press conference, the players had been planning to boycott games, should the league have opted to keep Sterling. Even with the ban, Mason added the players are "not content yet," explaining they want a timeline and plan of action for when Sterling will be removed as an owner.
NBA TV, which aired a live-stream of the press conference, stated that Silver's was "a bold decision, but the only decision." And, we completely agree.