NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday announced unprecedented sanctions against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling — banning Sterling for life and fining him $2.5 million.
Silver called the racist comments by Sterling "deeply offensive" and "hateful."
Silver also announced that he will urge the league's Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.
Silver said he fully expects to get the support needed from other owners to remove Sterling as Clippers owner.
"I believe the players will be satisfied with the decision," Silver said.
The NBA conducted a three-day investigation following the leak of a recording of him telling his former mistress, V. Stiviano, that he doesn't want her bringing black people to games, among other racist statements.
Silver announced Tuesday that forensic experts determined the voice on the tape is Sterling's and it was not altered in any way. The $2.5 million fine against Sterling is the maximum penalty allowed under the NBA Constitution.
After the tape was made public, the backlash against Sterling's remarks led more than 10 corporate team sponsors, including Red Bull, Adidas, CarMax, and State Farm, to announce they are suspending or ending their relationship with the Clippers.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers also reportedly said Tuesday that if Sterling remained team owner he would not be back for the 2014–15 season.
Sterling bought the team in 1981 and his more than 32-year tenure as owner is the longest in the NBA. During that time, the Clippers have had the worst winning percentage of any team in the league, but recently have rose to prominence (No. 3 playoff seed in the Western Conference this year) with the addition of stars such as Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
The Clippers are scheduled to take on the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday in Game 5 of the teams' first round playoff series at the Staples Arena — the first Clippers game in Los Angeles since the news of the Sterling's racist remarks broke on Saturday.
The Clippers updated the team website Tuesday to simply read "We Are One" and released a statement: “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”
Many NBA teams and owners released statements supporting the commissioner's decision to ban Sterling for life.
New York Knicks owner and Executive Chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company, James L. Dolan:
"I have been in touch with the NBA and fully support Commissioner Silver's decision. I applaud Adam for acting quickly and decisively in appropriately addressing these disgusting and offensive comments. This kind of behavior has no place in basketball, or anywhere else, and we as a league must stand together in condemning this ignorance."
Utah Jazz owner and CEO Greg Miller:
"On behalf of the Miller family, we support the decisive action by Commissioner Silver and the NBA to reaffirm that there is no place for racism and hatred in our league. The Jazz organization and all the teams in the NBA should act as national leaders in promoting inclusiveness and diversity. We have a responsibility in our communities to fight against discrimination and ignorance and showcase sports as an example of respect and tolerance. While this situation has been inexcusable, I hope it serves the greater purpose of reinforcing our vigilance against this type of behavior."
Atlanta Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson:
"I commend Commissioner Adam Silver in being diligent in how he handled this important matter. He acted swiftly and appropriately with the severity of the penalty and I strongly support his decision."
Boston Celtics managing partners:
"The entire Boston Celtics organization and our ownership group fully support the decisive action taken by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver today. The Celtics stand for inclusion and equality, and we are proud to be a part of a league that shares the same values."
The Orlando Magic feel the recent reprehensible comments by Donald Sterling were absolutely unacceptable and do not reflect the values and beliefs of our organization or our league.
Phoenix Suns managing partner Robert Sarver:
We applaud the leadership of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, as well as Head Coach Doc Rivers and his players, who are at the epicenter of the situation.
"I applaud the actions taken today by Commissioner Silver in response to the disturbing comments made by Donald Sterling. Commissioner Silver's decision upholds the principles of diversity, tolerance and respect for all people that the NBA and Phoenix Suns represent. The Commissioner has my full support."
New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson:
"In light of the serious matter facing our league, a matter that transcends sports, the New Orleans Pelicans fully support the decisions made today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and will fully support his recommendations moving forward."
Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf:
We completely support Commissioner Silver's decision today regarding Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and praise him for his prompt investigation and action. The Commissioner was correct to ban Mr. Sterling from all official NBA business, to levy the stiffest allowable fine, and we will support his recommendation to press for Mr. Sterling to relinquish his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers franchise. We believe Commissioner Silver's decision reflects the best interests of the NBA and public civility.
The league's decision underscores the severity and reprehensible nature of the comments attributed to Donald Sterling. These comments in no way reflect the attitude, values, and culture of the Bulls and White Sox organizations. This behavior cannot be tolerated in any form.
Discrimination and prejudice of any kind have no place in sports or in our society.
"As a proud member of the National Basketball Association, we stand strongly in our belief that the comments attributed to Mr. Sterling have no place in our society or sport. Our organization will always work to contribute to a culture of diversity and acceptance in this league and fully support the actions taken today. We thank Commissioner Adam Silver, and all of the NBA players, for their leadership on this important issue."
Miami Heat Chairman Micky Arison tweeted:
Great job Adam. The NBA is in good hands. You have my full support.
Golden State Warriors co-owner and CEO Joe Lacob:
"We applaud the firm punishment handed out today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and appreciate the swiftness with which the NBA conducted its investigation. Similarly, we anticipate that the NBA Board of Governors will act promptly to put this chapter behind us. As I noted on Sunday, the sentiments expressed on the audio recording were completely inappropriate, unacceptable and senseless. We cannot tolerate such feelings or beliefs, not only in the NBA, but in society in general. There is absolutely no room for racism in our world, period."
Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores:
"I am proud of Adam Silver for providing the leadership and strength necessary in this situation. He has my full support."
Los Angeles Lakers President Jeannie Buss:
"In my statement yesterday, I said I had full confidence in Adam Silver and how he and the NBA would handle this situation. In today's announcement Adam was decisive, firm and compelling and showed great leadership in his condemnation of the horrible and offensive comments that have led to this action."
Today's announcement by Commissioner Silver sends a strong message that racism and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated in the NBA family. The Nets organization welcomes and fully supports the decision and remains committed to tolerance and respect for all. We can all be proud that the reaction throughout the NBA – from players, management, ownership and fans – has been unequivocal and united in condemning the scourge of racism.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted:
"I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling"
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé tweeted:
"Great leadership today from @NBA Adam Silver. Very clear message about who we are as a league & where we're going. #NBA3.0 #secondthemotion"
Memphis Grizzlies owner Steve Kaplan tweeted:
Bravo Adam Silver!
Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl:
"We denounce the offensive, racist comments made by Mr. Sterling, and we stand with the actions Commissioner Silver has taken against him."
Philadelphia 76ers managing owner Josh Harris:
"The Philadelphia 76ers completely support NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. As I have previously stated, there is no place for any type of discrimination in our society, and those hurtful and ignorant comments are contrary to the core values and beliefs of our ownership group and organization."
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor:
"The Timberwolves stand firmly in full support of the swift and impactful action taken today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. His leadership and direction in this matter is completely appropriate and appreciated by the Timberwolves organization. We stand unified with Commissioner Silver today and reaffirm our organization's zero tolerance approach to the type of reprehensible behavior which caused this action."
Portland Trailblazers owner Paul Allen:
"I completely support NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decisive action on the Sterling issue. He exhibited great leadership, and the league is in good hands."
Oklahoma City Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett:
"The Oklahoma City Thunder strongly supports the decisive action taken today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Ours is a league of inclusion, tolerance and fairness. The Thunder organization will continue to work to foster the tenets of diversity and respect, and build on that standard moving forward."
Denver Nuggets President Josh Kroenke:
"Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and the Denver Nuggets wholeheartedly and emphatically support Commissioner Adam Silver's decision that Donald Sterling be fined and banned for life from any involvement with the National Basketball Association.
"Mr. Sterling's words have absolutely no place in our working family or in a global sport that values inclusion, diversity and tolerance of people regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation."
Charlotte Bobcats Chairman Michael Jordan:
"I applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's swift and decisive response today. He sent a powerful message that there can be zero tolerance for racism and hatred in the NBA. I'm confident that the league, our players and our fans will move on from this stronger and more unified."
Cleveland Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert:
"It is shocking that anyone could hold the kind of offensive and feeble minded views that are being attributed allegedly to the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. The diverse staff members of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise are unified in encouraging Commissioner Silver and the NBA to respond with swift and appropriate action consistent with a strong zero tolerance approach to this type of reprehensible behavior."
San Antonio Spurs Owner Peter Holt:
"The NBA is built upon equality and diversity. There is no room for racism or bigotry in our league. All of us at Spurs Sports & Entertainment fully support the decision made today by Commissioner Silver."
Magic Johnson, who was the subject of some of the racist comments and voiced harsh criticism of Sterling, tweeted his approval of the NBA's decision.
The NBA released this statement Tuesday announcing the lifetime ban:
NEW YORK, April 29, 2014 – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA, it was announced today at a press conference in Manhattan.
Commissioner Silver has also fined Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA Constitution. The fine money will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association.
As part of the lifetime ban, Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity.
Commissioner Silver also announced that he will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.
The discipline issued today is based on the Commissioner's conclusion that Mr. Sterling violated league rules through his expressions of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league.