Donald Sterling suspended for life, fined $2.5 million by NBA for racist remarks

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The new NBA commissioner came down on the Los Angeles Clippers owner on Tuesday, banning him "for life," fining him $2.5 million and beginning the process to forcibly sell the team.

Donald Sterling will be suspended for life from the NBA and fined $2.5 million as part of a punishment levied by commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday.

Silver's decision comes days after a recording of racist remarks made by the Clippers owner to purported girlfriend V. Stiviano surfaced Saturday. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be in attendance at Clippers facilities or participate in business or personnel decisions involving the team. The fine money will be donated to anti-discrimination organizations.

In addition, Silver said he'll "immediately" recommend to the NBA's board of governors that Sterling be forced to sell the team. NBA bylaws allow the board of governors to force a sale following a three-quarters majority vote.

In the recording, Sterling chides Stiviano for posting a picture of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram, saying it "bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people." Later, he added that "you can sleep with them, 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." An extended version of the tape appeared on Deadspin and included Sterling blaming his thoughts on the way of the world.

Sterling has shown racist views in the past. He has been sued multiple times for racial discrimination in the course of his real estate business, most notably in 2006 by the Justice Department for denying Korean-Americans and African-Americans housing in properties he owned in Los Angeles. That suit alleged that Sterling wouldn't rent to Hispanics because they "smoke, drink and just hang around the building," and to African-Americans because they "smell and attract vermin." Sterling settled for large sums of money in each case.

The recording released by TMZ proved to be the last straw. After his predecessor, David Stern, was unable or unwilling to punish Sterling for his misdeeds, Silver moved swiftly, as promised, to render a verdict. Prior to Silver's decision, Players and owners spoke out in waves and Clippers sponsors quickly renounced their affiliation with the organization.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, Clippers head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations Doc Rivers reportedly said he would not stay with the team if Sterling remained in power. Before Game 4 against the Warriors on Sunday, Clippers players took off their warm-ups and wore their shirts inside-out to hide the Clippers' logo during shootaround.

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