The National Basketball Association suspended Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million for making racist remarks, the first time an owner was suspended in 14 years.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, speaking at a news conference in New York, said that he would urge the NBA board of governors to force a sale of the team.
“We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views,” Silver said.
The recorded comments, which were posted on website TMZ and attributed to Sterling four days ago, drew condemnation from people ranging from President Barack Obama to fellow owners including Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen and Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert. As many as 12 team sponsors either left the team or suspended their deals over the comments, in which TMZ said he told a woman that he didn’t want her to bring black people to his team’s games.
“It is shocking that anyone could hold the kind of offensive and feeble-minded views that are being attributed allegedly to the Clippers owner,” Gilbert, who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, said in a statement last night.
The NBA has $5.5 billion in annual revenue. Its players are 76.3 percent African-American, according to an October report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida.
By Mason Levinson