So long, Sterling. Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been suspended indefinitely by the NBA, according to league commissioner Adam Silver, who announced his decision in a press conference Tuesday, April 29. Furthermore, a $2.5 million dollar fine—the maximum amount allowed by the NBA—will be imposed on the beleaguered team owner after a recording of Sterling making racist remarks surfaced last weekend.
Silver's decision comes just three days after TMZ posted audio of Sterling making awful racist comments to his girlfriend, Vanessa Stiviano. In the phone recording, 80-year-old Sterling chastises his 31-year-old girlfriend for posting photos of herself with black people — including a snapshot with NBA legend Magic Johnson—to Instagram.
The latest development comes after Silver initially denounced the recording as "disturbing and offensive," and said the NBA was in the process of investigating whether or not the audio was fabricated against the business magnate.
"When specific evidence was brought to the NBA, we acted," Silver said in his presser Tuesday. "The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sunday is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling." The league head added, in response to one reporter's question, that Sterling has in fact, "acknowledged that it was his voice on the tape."
The NBA Commissioner said he ultimately made his decision Tuesday morning. Silver added that Sterling is banned from attending any NBA games or practices, nor will he be allowed to visit any Clippers facilities. "He is also barred from attending in any league activities," Silver said.
"As for Mr. Sterling's ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens," Silver continued.
In the aftermath of the recording's release, celebrities, athletes and even the President of the United States have publicly admonished Sterling for his statements. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey slammed the team owner on Tuesday for having a "plantation mentality." Queen Latifah called the controversy a "disgusting situation," on Monday, further elaborating: "It's kind of pathetic, it's sad."
LeBron James and the Miami Heat protested Sterling Monday evening by wearing their warm-up jackets inside out before their playoff game. Clippers coach Doc Rivers shared Monday that he had passed on a call with Sterling. "I'd just like to reiterate how disappointed I am in our—in the comments attributed to our owner," Rivers told reporters via USA Today. "And I can't tell you how upset I am, our players are."
"This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family," Silver concluded in his statement. "I appreciate the support and understanding of all players during this time."
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