In the wake of the controversial comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, there has been a lot of discussion about what the punishment will be for the longest tenured owner in the NBA.
The comments spurred a large amount of backlash as Laker legends such as Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have spoken out against Sterling. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss also released a statement on the matter.
The NBA, and new commissioner Adam Silver called a press conference today to discuss the matter, and has decided to ban Donald Sterling for life:
Silver: "Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or NBA.” (on @NBATV)
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) April 29, 2014
In addition to the lifetime banishment, the NBA has also decided to fine Sterling the maximum amount allowed, $2.5 million and will attempt to force the sale of the Clippers.
A number of sponsors, including Kia, Red Bull, Mercedes-Benz, State Farm, and Virgin America have all severed or suspended their ties with the Clippers organization.
This incident has undoubtedly put a lot of pressure on the Clippers players and coaches. The team hosts the Golden State Warriors tonight in a crucial Game 5 of their first round series. Point guard Chris Paul also serves as President of the NBA Player’s Association and had to deal with this on that front as well.
Sterling has dealt with discrimination charges in the past. He was sued by former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor in 2009 for wrongful termination due to his race and was accused of housing discrimination in both 2003 and 2006.
Commissioner Silver does not have the power to force Sterling to sale, in order to force a sale of the Clippers, the Board of Governers must come to a vote, needing a 75 percent approval of all owners to force the sale.
Kobe Bryant Responds To Sterling’s Racist Comments, ‘Should Not’ Own The Clippers