Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has received a lifetime ban from the NBA (National Basketball Association) and has been fined $US2.5million for his racist comments this week. Sterling, who has owned the team since 1981, was overheard telling a woman, identified as girlfriend V. Stiviano, not to bring black people to games or associate with them.
The comments have caused an uproar, not just in the NBA, but within the Clippers team. In protest, players wore their warm-up jerseys inside out before their Game 4 playoff loss against the Golden State Warriors, while in other games throughout the league the San Antonio Spurs played in black socks and the Miami Heat practiced with their warm-up shirts inside out to mimic the LA Clippers.
Former NBA player Kevin Johnson, now mayor of Sacramento, said the league needed to hand out the maximum possible penalty. While NBA legend Michael Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Bobcats said there is no room in the NBA, or anywhere, for this kind of hatred.
The conversation took place on April 9, when a man’s voice, later identified as Sterling’s, told the woman not to pose for photos with black men, including Hall of Famer Ervin “Magic” Johnson. Sterling goes onto say it annoys him that she has to promote her association with black people.
It isn’t the first time Sterling has caused controversy with racist comments. Back in 2009 he was sued by his former General Manager Elgin Baylor who criticised Sterling’s attitude and quoted him as saying “I’m offering you good money for a poor black kid” when negotiating a contract with Danny Manning.
The situation is far from over as Sterling is refusing to sell the team, and the other teams have lobbied against him to force him to sell. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver needs 75% support, or 23 out of the 30 teams, to force Sterling out of the league permanently.
“The fine will be donated to organisations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players’ Association” Mr Silver said.