Adam Silver News Conference: Donald Sterling Banned From NBA For Life

by NESN Staff

April 29, 2014

Adam Silver2:39 p.m.: NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s first introduction to the public at large — not just a small cadre of die-hard fans — went off just how many observers hoped it would.

Silver laid down a lifetime ban on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and will seek approval from the 29 other NBA owners to force Sterling to sell the team. Silver expects to get that support and, after that performance, we can’t blame him.

The NBA also issued a maximum fine of $2.5 million, which is immaterial to both the mega-rich Sterling and to the proceedings at large.

Silver sent a message. Ideology of this nature will not be tolerated in the NBA. Any amount of money pales in comparison to that.

2:29 p.m.: The biggest thing that stands out about Silver’s remarks: He looks ticked.

Like, straight enraged. From the beginning to the end of his remarks, he clearly was emotional, almost visibly shaking. He came down harshly, and people have noticed.

Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, tweeted that Silver “dropped the hammer on ignorance.” Magic Johnson and even baseball player Jimmy Rollins tweeted support for the commissioner.

2:25 p.m.: Whether Sterling’s remarks were made in private was immaterial, in Silver’s eyes. The implication that Sterling couldn’t be punished for private remarks always was sort of shaky, anyway, but as Silver pointed out, “these remarks became public,” and Sterling is a public figure with a lesser right to privacy.

Sterling has acknowledged that the voice on the tape is his, according to Silver.

2:22 p.m.: As part of the ban, Silver said, Sterling essentially will be forced to sell the Clippers, subject to a two-thirds vote by the league’s owners.

2:20 p.m.: Adam Silver arrived, about a quarter-hour behind schedule, and outlined all the details of the Sterling saga that you probably already know.

“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply concerning and harmful,” Silver said. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens my outrage.”

Silver strongly expressed disgust that the words were expressed by an owner in a league that he said has led the way on race relations. Silver personally apologized to several African-American legends, including Bill Russell and Magic Johnson.

Then Silver banned Sterling from the NBA for life.

“He may not be present at any Clippers facility and he may not participate in any business of personnel discussions involving the team,” Silver said.

Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under NBA bylaws, to be donated to charity.

2:10 p.m.: For those of you who still view TMZ with skepticism (which would be odd, because TMZ has broken some fairly gigantic stories in recent years), NBC confirms the punishment.

1:48 p.m.: This probably would set off a firestorm, but for now TMZ — which broke the Sterling story by posting the tape Saturday — reports Sterling will face an indefinite suspension and a $5 million fine.

This amounts to a slap on the wrist for the multi-billionaire. It also helps him avoid the harshest penalty the NBA could institute, which is to force him to sell the team.

1:30 p.m.: Donald Sterling is in hot water. Adam Silver is set to announce just how hot that water is.

The NBA has scheduled a 2 p.m. ET news conference to discuss the findings of a league investigation into racist comments made by Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, in a recording released last weekend. The rant, in which Sterling tells an assistant that he does not want her to bring black people to Clippers games, has caused an outcry across the league.

Coach Doc Rivers reportedly has said he will not stay with the club if Sterling remains at the helm. The voice in the recording has been confirmed to be Sterling’s, and some reports have indicated that Magic Johnson, former Los Angeles Lakers star and the part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, would be interested in buying the team. Johnson, however, says otherwise.

Stay with us as we bring you updates from the news conference.

Photo via Twitter/@CTVNews

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