NBA Commissioner Adam Silver doled out severe punishment to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist comments attributed to him that leaked to the press over the weekend: a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine. It’s the maximum penalty allowed by the NBA’s constitution.
Silver said in a press conference that the punishment did not take into account Sterling’s previous actions, which include being a notoriously racist slumlord in Los Angeles. But the commissioner did say that the league would force Sterling to sell the team.
When asked by an Inside Edition reporter why it took so long to punish Sterling when there was already a long public record of his racist misdeeds, Silver noted that the league acted as quickly as they could after gathering information about Sterling’s very public comments.
Those comments came to light last weekend after several secret recordings were released to TMZ and Deadspin. On the tapes, Sterling can be heard asking his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, not to be photographed with black people, and not to bring them "to his games."
Sterling has been sued twice for housing discrimination. In a 2005 deposition for one of the lawsuits, one former employee said that Sterling had called black people "dirty" and said, "I don’t like Mexican men because they smoke, drink and just hang around the house." Deadspin noted his documented history of racist actions earlier this week.