During a press conference this afternoon and effective immediately Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been” BANNED FOR LIFE from any association with the Clippers Organization or the NBA”.
It was also announced that “Mr. Sterling cannot attend any NBA games or practices, he cannot be present at any Clippers facility and he cannot participate in any business or player personal decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending any Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.”
Sterling has also been fined $2.5 million, a senior NBA official confirmed to NBC News minutes before a news conference on the league’s investigation into Sterling’s alleged racial remarks.
Sterling is worth $1.9 billion, and the team is valued at more than $500 million.
Players, team owners and sports fans are pressuring the NBA to smack Sterling with the harshest punitive actions possible after audio recording captured a man identified as Sterling spewing racist rants.
Sterling continued his public silence Tuesday, marking day four of the controversy that has led corporate sponsors to flee and activists to threaten protests outside the Clippers’ stadium.
The decision is an early test for the freshly minted NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who assumed the position less than three months ago. In the early fallout after the audio recording was released, Silver said the NBA commission would fully investigate the recording and consider possible sanctions against Sterling. Silver is expected to unveil the investigation’s findings Tuesday afternoon.
The punitive options for the NBA are delicate. It is unclear whether Silver can force Sterling to sell the Clippers, a team be bought in 1981 for $12 million. The team is now valued at some $575 million. The NBA could however hand Sterling an indefinite suspension – barring him from running the team or attending games – and slap him with fines as high as $2.5 million.