New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver held a press conference at 2 PM ET on Tuesday to announce the punishment for Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling for his racist remarks made in a recording to his girlfriend.
In the recording, which was obtained by TMZ, Sterling references his displeasure with his girlfriend bringing African-Americans –specifically Magic Johnson– to Clippers games and associating with them in any form in a public fashion.
Silver announced today that Sterling is banned for life from the NBA and has been fined$2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed.
Silver will also try to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
In order for the forced sale to happen, Silver needs 75% of the other 29 NBA owners to vote for Sterling’s removal, and with almost all of the NBA franchises releasing statements in favor of the Ccommish’s ruling, there is little doubt that Sterling’s reign in the NBA is coming to a swift end.
On Monday, Hawks’ majority owner Bruce Levenson joined 92.9 FM “The Game” in Atlanta to discuss the situation, and he had some harsh words.
“Sterling (if he is on the recording) should be given the maximum penalty for his comments,” Levenson said Monday on Atlanta radio station 92.9/The Game. “I strongly believe that the league has to have a zero-tolerance policy against racism and discrimination in any form and I have faith that commissioner Adam Silver will act in what’s the best interest of the league. I have expressed these views to Adam and my fellow owners.”
Shortly after the press conference and ruling, Levenson released a statement through the team to voice his agreement with Silver and the NBA.
“I commend Commissioner Adam Silver in being diligent in how he handled this important matter,” Levenson stated. “He acted swiftly and appropriately with the severity of the penalty and I strongly support his decision.”
Silver said that he fully expects to get support from the owners to remove him, and statements like this show that he may have already gotten votes of confidence before the press conference earlier today. This move was a strong and excellent move by the commissioner, and it has been met with justified resounding approval, and the NBA has no place for racist bigots.
This was long overdue, as Sterling has been ignorant and has shown signs of racism and harassment for years. In this 2006 article by Bomani Jones for ESPN, Jones calls out the league and the media for turning a blind eye to a settlement that Sterling had to pay for being prejudice and downright dumb towards minority tenants in his rental property.
The NBA is a better place without Donald Sterling, and here’s hoping his removal is swift and that he gets out of the news cycle soon.
A few Hawks players took to Twitter to voice their approval:
— Al Horford (@Al_Horford) April 29, 2014
And that’s that — Jeff Teague (@Teague0) April 29, 2014
Thank you Mr. Silver
— Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) April 29, 2014