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Volume 24 No. 157
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Adam Silver Bans Donald Sterling For Life From Clippers, NBA

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver this afternoon banned Clippers Owner Donald Sterling for life "from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA" and fined him a league-maximum $2.5M after Sterling made racist comments in an audiotape that was released over the weekend. He also will be barred from attending NBA BOG meetings or “participating in any other league activity.” Silver noted Sterling "acknowledged it was his voice on the tape and he has not expressed to me directly any other views."

Silver said he will urge the BOG to “exercise its authority to force a sale of the team,” and added he will personally do “everything in my power to ensure that that happens.” He noted the owners "have the authority subject to a three-quarters vote … to remove him as an owner" and the owners "will begin that process immediately." Silver: "I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him." He noted he spoke to several team owners in recent days and said he has their “full support.”

The commissioner noted he concluded his investigation into the matter “late last night” and decided this morning that the lifetime ban and fine "was the appropriate action to take." Silver noted the punishment “did not take into account” Sterling’s previous behavior, which includes a lawsuit accusing him of discriminatory rental practices and a wrongful termination suit brought by Elgin Baylor. However, he added when the BOG “ultimately considers his overall fitness to be an owner in the NBA, they will take into account a lifetime of behavior." Silver said the lifetime ban was “independent” of the attempts to force a sale of the franchise.

Silver began speaking at about 2:15pm ET, 15 minutes after the scheduled start time. His opening statement took about four-and-a-half minutes, after which he took approximately 25 questions. The entire press conference took roughly 50 minutes (NBA TV, 4/29).