Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the NBA and fined $2.5 million in response to racist comments the league says he made during a recorded conversation with a female companion.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement Tuesday, calling Sterling's comments "deeply disturbing and harmful." He said the fine was the maximum allowable under NBA rules.
Silver said he would call on the owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the team. Such a move would require approval of three-quarters of the current owners.
The condemnation of the comments attributed to Sterling has come from all circles and has shown that the issue extends far beyond the Clippers. The fallout has been swift: current and former NBA players have publicly denounced Sterling, the NAACP is returning donations he has made and canceled a planned award ceremony next month and sponsors have fled.
In the audio recording obtained by TMZ, a man alleged to be Sterling questions his girlfriend's association with minorities. TMZ identified the woman as V. Stiviano and her lawyer confirmed it.
"The man whose voice is heard on the recording and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sundayis Mr. Sterling," Silver said on Tuesday.
The man asks the Stiviano not to broadcast her association with black people or bring black people to games. The man specifically mentions Magic Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers star and NBA Hall of Famer, saying, "Don't bring him to my games, OK?"
"You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want," the man says on the tape. "The little I ask you is ... not to bring them to my games."
Stiviano's lawyer said Sunday that the tape is authentic. Attorney Mac Nehoray also said Stiviano did not release the tape(s) to the media.
CBSSports.com reported that the longer version of the recording has more offensive comments.
Clippers players made their statement before playing the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, throwing their team-issued warm-up gear down on center court and conducting their pregame routines with shooting shirts inside-out to cover the team's logo. The Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs wore black socks in their games as a show of support, while the Heat mimicked the Clippers warm-up statement in their playoff game against Charlotte on Monday night.
UPDATE: Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks shared his thoughts on the Sterling situation prior to Tuesday night's contest against the Grizzlies in OKC:
"I'm proud of the commissioner's quick response to what has happened over the weekend. I think it's great. Hopefully now we can try to put it behind us as quickly as we can and focus on basketball ahead. There's a lot of great basketball being played right now, a lot of great series going on, so it would just be nice to move forward and focus on that.
"He's a great leader. Great leaders make decisions that are best for the group, and I thought he did a great job; quick and decisive. I'm proud of him; he made us all proud today."