NBA bans Donald Sterling for life, fines him $2.5M, will force him to sell Clippers
Adam Silver played the role of executioner regarding the future of Donald Sterling as it relates to him having any future connection to or affiliation with to the NBA. The guillotine has fallen and the NBA commissioner announced in a press conference in New York on Tuesday that the Los Angeles Clippers owner has been banned for life by the NBA as a punishment for deplorably racist comments attributed to him as a scandal exploded over the weekend that not only reverberated through the league, sent shock waves far beyond the world of professional basketball.
Silver’s announcement confirmed what NBA sources were telling Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski leading up to the press conference.
Via Yahoo! Sports:
“The hateful opinions voiced by that of the man [on the tape] are those of Donald Sterling,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. “…I’m personally distraught the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations.”
As part of the ban, Sterling is not allowed “to attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.” Sterling also will be barred from attending any Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity.
Wojnarowski additionally is reporting on Twitter that there are “[s]everal groups with desire to purchase Clippers are already stepping forward, with a bidding war expected to exceed $1 billion for Clippers.”
Further, he tweets that “[a]mong those groups, Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners will be front-and-center in pursuit of the Clippers.”
How swiftly and decisively the NBA addressed this issue deserves to be commended. From a public relations standpoint, allowing this scandal to grow and fester and prolonging the ensuing controversy and subsequent backlash would have been an egregious tactical error by the league and the sooner the NBA can rid themselves of Sterling the better.
Although it may be hard for the players and coaches to do so, perhaps this brutal (and arguably fair and deserving) manner in which the NBA exacted its punishment of Sterling and the speed in which it was administered will allow the Clippers to return their focus to the its series with the Golden State Warriors. Although should the distractions prove too much and the team can’t reestablish its focus to the court, it would be difficult to lay any blame upon them.