LA Clippers owner race row ban welcomed

Doc Rivers Doc Rivers said the healing process could now begin

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The ban imposed on the LA Clippers basketball team owner over racist remarks has received widespread praise.

Team coach Doc Rivers said the lifetime ban and fine for Donald Sterling was the "start of a healing process".

Several civil rights organisations and stars of the game, past and present, have applauded the National Basketball Association for taking swift action.

Mr Sterling was recorded asking a woman not to associate in public with black people or bring them to games.

His remarks have earned him a lifetime ban from the NBA, whose commissioner Adam Silver urged the Board of Governors - the other team owners - to force Mr Sterling into selling.

Praise for the ban

LeBron James
  • "Way to go, Commissioner Silver! The NBA stands for everybody!" - retired star Shaquille O'Neal
  • "Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!!" - Miami Heat star LeBron James (pictured)
  • "Current and former NBA players now know that in Commissioner Adam Silver we have a great leader leading our league" - Magic Johnson
  • "We are a single team here today, a team not only speaking out for what we're against - racism, hatred, bigotry, intolerance - but what we're for" - LA Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • "Next up for Silver? Putin" - comedian and Clippers fan Billy Crystal

Mr Silver told reporters that Mr Sterling's "hateful opinions... simply have no place in the NBA".

The league has also fined Mr Sterling $2.5m (£1.5m), the maximum allowed, in a package of measures that have been described as the harshest punishment in the history of the NBA.

Mr Rivers said: "I thought Adam Silver today was fantastic.

"He made a decision that really was the right one, that had to be made. I don't think this is something that we rejoice in or anything like that."

The players were happy that there was a resolution, he said, adding: "I think we're all in a better place because of this."

In a joint statement, the National Urban League, the National Action Network, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation supported Mr Silver's announcement.

That decision, the statement said, was "a bold, courageous and resolute message".

Some sponsors had dumped the team as the race row deepened but following the ban, electronics company Samsung said it would resume advertising, starting with Tuesday evening's play-off game against the Golden State Warriors.

Former players also commended the swift action.

"I believe that today stands as one of those great moments where sports, once again, transcends, where sports provides a place for fundamental change on how our country should think and act," said Kevin Johnson, former NBA star and mayor of Sacramento, who has acted as an adviser to the NBA players' union.

Protests against Sterling were held ahead of Tuesday's game Protests against Sterling were held ahead of Tuesday's game

But others said they believed the punishment was too harsh, given the fact it was a private conversation.

The ban means Mr Sterling will be unable to participate in all team business or attend any NBA practices or games.

Boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather has expressed an interest in buying the team, according to ESPN, as has another boxer, Oscar De La Hoya.

A US sports writer considers the wider implications

The row erupted on Friday when celebrity news website TMZ published a 10-minute audio recording in which Mr Sterling criticised a woman, believed to be his girlfriend, for posting photographs of herself with black friends at Clippers games.

"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you are associating with black people. Do you have to?" the man says.

The remarks caused an immediate uproar among basketball fans across the country, and drew condemnation from President Barack Obama.

The players staged a silent protest, going through a pre-match warm-up with shirts on inside-out to hide the team's logo.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    I got the .380; the homies think I'm
    crazy because I shot a white baby; I said; I said; I said: kill
    whitey all night long. "Kill Whitey"; --Menace Clan, Da Hood,
    1995, Rap-A-Lot Records, Noo Trybe Records, subsidiaries of what was called Thorn EMI and now is called The EMI Group, United Kingdom.

    Na, this ain't racists! It's just Rap music.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Classical liberalism stated that an individual was free to speak and to choose their private associations, regardless of if their choice was based on prejudice, no matter how despicable, as long as they did not seek to harm or incite harm against others.

    How did modern liberalism become the dogmatic, authoritarian ideology - which does not even grant right to free private speech - we see today?

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    I think it is great to kick out all the racist people but I wonder if the same rights will ever be given to gay people ?
    It seems OK to continue to discriminate against gay people in every aspect of life but not OK to discriminate against religious beliefs, ethnicity or gender.
    It is time to kick out all the anti-gay CEO's too !

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Sterling is being tarred and feathered by those who have always cried racism at every turn throughout the past 40+ years. Every idiot has jumped on the bandwagon....shameful behaviour on all parties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    @98 I really don't think that Sterling has had much opportunity to challenge any aspect of this incident, or do anything else for that matter. He has rather quickly been tried, found guilty and sentenced by the media and public opinion over what was a private conversation, illegally recorded under California law. I don't agree with his sentiments but do worry about our so called freedom of speech


Comments 5 of 103


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