Adam Silver will have his first tough test as NBA Commissioner for the apparent racist acts of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
"All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy," Silver said in an official NBA statement.
"The core of the investigation is understanding whether the tape is authentic, interviewing Mr. Sterling and interviewing the woman as well and understanding the context in which it was recorded."
"There are broad powers in place under the NBA's constitution and bylaws that include a range of sanctions. All of those will be considered depending on the findings of our investigation," added Silver, who took over the top position in the league in February 1, 2014.
Popular media outfit TMZ released a tape purportedly containing racist remarks from Sterling. During the rant where the 78-year-old was talking to a former girlfriend, he was caught saying a few racist-filled remarks that have so far drawn the ire of the players, former players, coaches and NBA fans in general.
“You don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people,” Sterling said in the recorded conversation with a certain V. Stiviano. “Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.”
“You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that ... and not to bring them to my games.”
Sterling is already infamous for being a widely controversial racist as confirmed by past players and business associates.
“That’s the way it is…He is honest about what he believes in..Been going on for a long time, Hats off 2 the Team.. 4 playin above it all,” posted former Clipper Baron Davis.
In 2005, Sterling paid $5 million to victims of discrimination in one of his real estate establishments. In 2009, he paid $2.73 million for settlement on allegations by the United States government that he refused Latinos, African-Americans and families with children in Los Angeles.
With the racism controversy being a distraction, the Los Angeles Clippers lost to the Golden State Warriors in Los Angeles in Game 4 of their best-of-seven series. The first round match-up is now tied at 2-2 with Game 5 set on Tuesday.
Can the Clippers indeed play above the controversy?