In an unprecedented judgement on Tuesday, April 29, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life. The punishment is in response to Sterling's racist comments with an audio clip confirming it. Sterling has also been fined an amount of $2.5 million.
There was a national outrage after the audio clip, with Sterling making racist comments, emerged. The audio clip, which was recorded by a woman present at the event, revealed Sterling asking his girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers games. He said that "Hispanics feel certain things towards blacks." He also said that the feeling had always been there "historically," and it would always remain so.
Sterling said that he had to stay "within the culture" in the white society that was apparently against the black people. When his girlfriend refused to agree with him on his take on black people, he called her "stupid." Sterling's girlfriend, by the way, is of "mixed" lineage. She is black and Mexican, she said. TMZ published a detailed audio with transcripts that showed Sterling having a verbal argument with his girlfriend. He told her that she was allowed to sleep with black people but she was not allowed to bring them to his games.
There has been severe criticism against Sterling's racist comments. The censure came from several player, former and current, including Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Even U.S. President Barack Obama articulated his displeasure over Sterling's comments. After sentencing Sterling with a life ban, Silver has been instantly appreciated by many. Silver banned Sterling from attending practices, games and league owner meetings. Sterling has also been prohibited from taking part in league or team business in any form. The ban was with immediate effect. The ban is going to remain even if Sterling sells his team.
Silver called Sterling's comments "deeply offensive and harmful." He said that the comments were "contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the basis our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league."