LA Clippers owner race row ban welcomed

Doc Rivers Doc Rivers said the healing process could now begin

Related Stories

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.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • 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

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    @96 - Agreed it can be a criminal offence, however in most states, it is a civil offence. For what it's worth, Sterling has not in fact challenged the legality of his being recorded - I don't know if this is because of where he was (was he in California?) or some other circumstance, but you'd have thought he'd have raised privacy already if he had a decent case.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    This is another US media feeding frenzy. You ALL come out looking shallow in the end....should take a few months for this. How is your favourite...OJ Simpson. Ghastly example that one!!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    @93 California's wiretapping law is a "two-party consent" law. It makes it a crime to record or eavesdrop on any confidential communication, including a private conversation or telephone call, without the consent of all parties to the conversation. The statute applies where one of the parties has an objectively reasonable expectation that no one is listening in or overhearing the conversation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    All you people who think that racism is a one way street have never spent any time looking at sentencing statistics for various classes of crimes in the United States. I'd rather be accused of being racist at the drop of a hat than be on the wrong side of my country's wonderful criminal injustice system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    People need to remember that the US was founded on racism. The indigenous Indians were slaughtered by Christian Europeans and their land stolen because they were not white.
    Racism is what made the US.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    @88 - You're wrong about it being a crime to record conversations without permission. Rules differ in every US state, but rarely is it a criminal offence to do so. And TMZ certainly haven't done anything illegal - the first amendment actually protects their right to publish the recording.

    @91 - Not sure your point. The players didn't make this decision.

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.


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

    Oh really, well that's manly of you !!!

    Truly all discourse that happens on the so-called-news is carried out by babies at the level of the kindergarten.

    Which is indeed man's natural level.

    Lies, sheep, and stupidity mixed into one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    ref #89
    Also remember of the 3 major U.S sports, players have more say in the NBA. this may because of the relativly small teams.

    Because despite their star status Manning, Brady or Jeter don't have that kind of power or pull.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    Black, white, purple or green ....... who the hell cares. This is just a gold digging girlfriend and a man who should have known better. I'll bet there are millions of people who think just the way he does. Can't say so to watch out for those 'word police' and the 'lower end of the media' types.... especially if you have money and position.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    @86 - You're wrong and confused.

    The NBA - a private organisation which repesents owners of professional basketball teams - fined and banned Sterling. If you disagree, your argument is with NBA owners and the rules they signed up to.

    It's not a freedom of speech issue, the first amendment protects citizens against government censorship, and no-one in government is punishing Sterling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    Once Sterling's private thoughts became public, he became a severe embarrassment to the NBA, and they had to punish him. Sterling is guilty, prima facie, of being a hypocrite and holding views out of the mainstream. Neither of these is a criminal offence.
    Sterling's girlfriend has committed a crime by recording his conversation without his permission. The webmagazine is complicit by publishing it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    What about his rights. I get that people are upset about his remarks but he did nothing illegal. This was a conversation in his own home. It's scary that we could be punished for free speech.

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    Whilst I think that the NBA has the right and the obligation to exclude this guy, I'm not sure that he should be fined for views he's expressed within his house. He is undoubtedly racist but freedom of speech allows him to be so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    I'm kind of confused on the rules. If he broke an NBA rule & knew better, then so be it. But it sounds like he was set up by someone who recorded a private conversation for whatever motive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Oops, my post, No. 83, was in response to post 80, not 88.


Page 1 of 6


More US & Canada stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.