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Donald Sterling Receives Lifetime Ban For Racist Comments

Donald Sterling pictured with alleged mistress V. Stiviano

Donald Sterling pictured with alleged mistress V. Stiviano—in happier times

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling probably thought the worst had passed when the Village People barred the team from playing “Y.M.C.A.” during games, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver stepped in to deliver the knockout punch on Tuesday.

Just four days after audio tapes of Sterling making unforgivably racist remarks to former girlfriend V. Stiviano, who he admonished for posting a photo of her with Magic Johnson to her Instagram account and inviting black friends to games, were published by TMZ, he was handed a lifetime ban from the NBA.

Silver held a press conference to announce that, after a thorough and speedy investigation, the league had determined that it was, in fact, Sterling’s voice and that the audio had not been doctored. In addition to the lifetime ban, he was issued a $2.5 million fine, the maximum allowed by NBA by-laws.

Said Silver:

“Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attuning any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility. He may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions.”

In his first true test as commissioner since replacing David Stern, Silver was swift and decisive, earning nearly universal praise for handling an inexplicably tough situation. He used every power afforded to him and his position to come down on Sterling and then masterfully put the ball in the owner’s court.

Though the discipline imposed on the embattled Clippers owner was unprecedented and even harsher than most had expected, Silver made it clear that he isn’t done yet. Sterling and his views, he said, “they simply have no place in the NBA.”

And because they have no place in the NBA, Silver’s next move is to remove Sterling entirely. Forcing the sale of the team requires the support of 75 percent of league owners. Support that Silver may already know he has, based on informal conversations, or hopes to attain by forcing the issue publicly.

As momentous as this landmark course of action has already been—and will continue to be—it doesn’t seem as though it’s something that will drag on for years. Silver has stressed speed and has already delivered in a big way.

With Sterling having little recourse in court should NBA arbitration not go his way, it’s reasonable to think this team may very well be for sale by the end of the year. That’s assuming we even have to wait that long.

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