By Gina Miranda |Staff Writer|
Donald Sterling became the NBA’s biggest villain on April 29.
Sterling, the franchise owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, received a lifetime ban from the NBA.
An audio recording of Sterling barking racist remarks about African-Americans went viral this weekend wreaking havoc on the NBA and its affiliates.
Adam Silver, the newly appointed commissioner of the NBA held a press conference to establish order within the NBA.
“Accordingly, effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA,” said Silver. “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, he may not be present at any Clippers facility and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team.”
Players, coaches, owners, announcers and fans were emotionally explosive and unrelenting following Sterling’s banishment. They immediately flooded social media networks with protests of Sterling and support for Silver’s decision.
Sterling’s discriminating remarks struck a nerve with the NBA players, 76 percent of which are African-Americans, according to Mason Levinson a writer for Bloomberg.com.
Sterling’s banishment also includes a large fine.
“I am also fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million; the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution,” Silver continued. “These funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its players association.”
NBA players intended to protest Sterling and fore-go playing in their scheduled playoff games.
Shortly after the press conference held by Silver, the Clippers released a statement about the controversy.
“We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today,” the Clippers continued. “Now the healing process begins.”
Apart from fining and banning Sterling, Silver also intends to force a sale of the Clippers organization.
“As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the board of governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens,” said Silver.
Silver explained that in order to force sale of a franchise, a 75 percent majority of the board of governors must vote to remove Sterling as the owner. A polling for Sterling’s removal has not been scheduled but an inevitable battle for ownership is expected to take place.
Sterling acquired the Clippers for $12.5 million in 1981. Forbes magazine now estimates the Clippers may now be worth $575 million.
Some noteworthy celebrities who have publicly expressed interest in purchasing the Clippers organization include, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Oprah Winfrey, and Magic Johnson.
On behalf of the NBA, Silver apologized to all those effected and outraged by Sterling’s remarks, “We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views,” Silver continued, “They simply have no place in the NBA.”
The future of the Clippers franchise is in jeopardy. Fans, coaches, partners and players are torn between the controversies.
Just when the Clippers organization was beginning to flounder, they are scorned by race and racism. If the organization can bounce back from the Sterling Controversy, it would be a miracle.