NBA commissioner Adam Silver approached the podium nervously and apologized for running behind. As his voice quavered, you could sense how major this moment was for him and the entire league. However, after briefly explaining the process of his investigation his voice hardened; any air of doubt hovering in the room was sucked away immediately: “I am banning Donald Sterling for life from the Clippers organization and the NBA.” The reporters in the room did not stand and cheer, although it appeared many of them wanted to. Rather, they nodded their head in silent approval. Justice.
Silver revealed that after a thorough investigation into the two tapes containing the conversation between Donald Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano, Sterling admitted that it was indeed his voice on the tape. Silver then went on to firmly state the Sterling’s racially charged and hateful views had no place in the NBA, and was “contrary to the [league’s] principles of inclusion and respect.” He also sincerely apologized to the various members of the league harmed by the situation, especially Magic Johnson.
The commissioner will recommend to the NBA’s board of governors to force Sterling to sell the team, and is hitting him with the maximum fine allowed in this circumstance— $2.5 million. The NBA and the Players Association will be donate the money to an organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts.
In order for the sale of the Clippers to begin, Silver needs a 3/4 approval vote from the leagues’ fellow owners. He intends to initiate the process immediately. When asked what bylaws Sterling violated that allowed Silver to make such a paramount decision, he simply stated that the NBA’s legal team would answer any questions about the technical aspects.
Silver clarified when prompted that Sterling did not express any remorse to him directly about his racially charged thoughts.