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article imageNBA bans owner of LA Clippers for life

By Nathan Salant     Apr 29, 2014 in Sports
New York - Controversial Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was barred from the National Basketball Association for life on Tuesday and fined $2.5 million after making racist comments that made headlines across the country.
In his first major crisis since becoming NBA commissioner in February, Adam Silver told a news conference in New York that Sterling did not deny making the comments, which were publicized by celebrity website TMZ.com last weekend.
"The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful; that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage," Silver said, according to the Reuters news service.
"Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league," he said.
Silver said Sterling, who has owned the Clippers franchise since 1981, would no longer be permitted to participate in any team operations nor serve as a league governor.
Silver also said he would appeal to other the 29 other National Baskeball Association team owners to vote to require Sterling to sell his team.
The commissioner's dramatic announcement and imposition of severe penalties is aimed at quieting the furor that erupted after TMZ.com broadcast recordings of someone identified as Sterling urging a girlfriend not to bring black people to Clippers' games.
Outrage over Sterling's remarks even reached the White House in Washington DC, where President Barack Obama -- the first black president in the nation's history -- called them "incredibly offensive racist statements."
But Sterling's comments probably drew the most fire from players, coaches and fans of the league, which been racially integrated for decades and has a majority of black players.
Sterling could not be reached for immediate comment on Tuesday, Reuters said.
Retired Los Angeles Lakers star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, a member of professional basketball's Hall of Fame who was mentioned by Sterling in his offensive remarks, said on Twitter that Sterling should be forced to sell the Clippers.
"Now let's hope that the other 29 owners do the right thing," Johnson said.
But the team's biggest sponsors weren't waiting, Reuters said.
Auto dealer CarMax Inc., Virgin America, State Farm, Kia Motors America, Red Bull and Yokohama Tire all announced that they were stepping back from the team, Reuters said.
But convincing other owners to kick Sterling out may not be easy, Reuters said, because anything they do could one day be used against their own ownership interests.
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