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NBA Bans Clippers Owner Donald Sterling for Life, Fines Him $2.5 Million

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he fine is the maximum possible penalty the league can assess.

Donald Sterling. Patch file photo.
Donald Sterling. Patch file photo.

Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life today by the NBA and barred from having any association with the team over racist remarks he purportedly made in a recorded telephone conversation.

Sterling was also ordered to pay a $2.5 million fine, which NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called the maximum possible penalty the league can assess. Silver said the money would be donated to anti-discrimination groups jointly identified by the NBA and the league's players' association.

The ban means Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices and is barred from going to any Clippers facilities. He also may not be involved in any decisions involving the team.

He is also barred from any NBA league activities or meetings.

Silver said he "will do everything in my power to ensure" that Sterling sells the Clippers, a team he has owned since 1981.

Silver said Sterling acknowledged that it was his voice on the recording. The recording was first posted on TMZ. The website Deadspin posted an extended version of the recording Sunday.

"The central findings of the (NBA's) investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording ... is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling," Silver said. "The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful."

He added, "Accordingly, effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA."

--City News Service

Surf's Up May 02, 2014 at 03:47 PM
Unfortunately, this isn't a 1st Amendment free speech issue. The state or federal government had nothing to do with it. A law suit for violating the California recording statute could be made by Sterling against the girlfriend. However, the NBA and other franchisees are harmless in this matter. Their reputation was harmed by Sterling's violation of the morals, character or behavior part of his NBA contract. The disclosure method of the recorded statement - was apparently, not mentioned in the contract. Had he put in a clause relating to surreptitious recordings - the NBA would be hard pressed to do anything. However, since Sterling already admitted it was his voice and the verbal admission was not coerced, Sterling will lose control of the team. Spooner, this was a plain old American contract breach - the term "chapter and verse" refers to the bible.
joe thrapp May 02, 2014 at 04:34 PM
I am not defending the private remarks of Donald Sterling. The NBA has done everything they can do to a NBA team owner period. The NBA owners can only take over a team when the owner is in financial trouble and cannot keep the team going. The dismissal clause for NBA owners agreement with the other NBA team owners does not have a morals code. They have a financial and criminal conviction clause. Totally neutral on this. They can't remove him because he did not commit a crime, any charges brought forth on a private conversation where both parties were unaware of being recorded is inadmissible. No crime, no NBA vote to remove him. He seems to be a very stubborn and self important man. He might be a little vindictive. I don't know how NBA players are hired and fire and I imagine the owner can hire and fire. Don't be surprised because of this vindictiveness he fires all the current players and hires all the graduating seniors from the University of Wisconsin. Unfortunately for LA basketball, Mr. Sterling may cause you a lot more grief.
Raymond Fellows May 02, 2014 at 06:00 PM
NOTHING supersedes the law against recording somebody without their knowledge, its a violation of his rights. The moral terpitude clause in the contracts i completely seperate. Its funny how people like Jesse Jackson, Spike Lee, Calypso Louie Farakhan and Al Sharpton can makes racist remarks every time they open their mouth and the press doesnt say a word. Donald may be a racist but the press are hypocrites. Free speech for only liberals. What does he care anyway? He's a billionaire and dying of cancer. He will sell a franchise for a HUGE profit and keep being a billionaire. If I was him I would tell everyone to kiss my a$$!
Lone Stranger May 02, 2014 at 06:06 PM
Yet another example of the absolute sewer the US has become. The NBA is a total waste. Gang banging tatted up gangstas running after a cowhide ball making millions only to be broke within 10 years. An owner who is a bigot, moron, and filthy philanderer. He's also senile and a complete nut case. Everyone should cancel cable. Cancel season tickets. Cancel any spending for organizations like this and we would see a change in our country. NBA= criminals, gangstas, ho's, thugs, crazy filthy owners. It's a loser all round.
Diana May 02, 2014 at 07:48 PM
Legal semantics are irrelevant here because it was never an issue of law application. It would be a major misprojection to believe this will lead to the headline "Supreme Court Reviews Constitutionality of NBA Jackassery." This is not an indicator of "race" relations in the current U.S. political climate. No matter what position addresses this as a "racial" issue, it's the same old song and dance. Heated, long-winded recitations of overused and abused rhetoric is as useless as 'talking heads,' as in, some people never actually say anything but they never shut up. Death and taxes may be the only sure things, but American idiocy is always a safe bet. Ignorance is detrimental, but bragging about it is laughably sad. This issue is what it is and nothing else: "Stupid is as stupid does." Please, do go on. Keep proving me right. I do believe that is the only thing of which you are capable.

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