LOS ANGELES—After the release of a racially laced phone call between Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano, the NBA is asking Sterling, who purchased the team back in the 1980s for $12 million, to sell his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.
TMZ posted on their YouTube channel a conversation between Donald Sterling and his ex-girlfriend, who is believed to be Vanessa Stiviano, on Friday, April 25. The call detailed Sterling telling Stiviano that he didn’t appreciate that she hung out with black people and brought black people to his games. The audio starts with Stiviano apologizing for the color of her skin and Sterling proceeded to tell her that that wasn’t the issue and that she was “broadcasting” by taking pictures with minorities.
Sterling told Stivano that she was “supposed to be a delicate White or delicateLatina girl,” to which she told him that she was “a mixed girl,” and that he was asking her to “remove something that was a part of [her,] and in [her] blood stream.” Stiviano and Sterling were believed to be arguing about a photo that Stiviano had posted to her Instagram that consisted of herself at an event with Magic Johnson. Sterling told Stiviano that he wanted her to “love them privately.”
The NBA and the rest of America was outraged over the release of the recording, the Clippers, who were playing in playoff games all weekend haven’t released any of their sentiments on Twitter, but did take to a silent protest by wearing their warm up jerseys inside out to hide their logos in Sunday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. The Miami Heat who played against the Clippers showed a form of solidarity by also wearing warm up jerseys inside out. LeBron James responded to the audio tape saying, “If the reports are true, it’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in our league. It doesn’t matter if your Black, White, Hispanic, or whatever all across the races. It’s unacceptable, and as a commissioner in our league, they have to make a stand, and they have to be very aggressive with it.”
Head Coach of the LA Clippers, Doc Rivers acknowledged that the voice on the tape did indeed, sound like Sterling’s and couldn’t begin to express how upset the team or the players were over the sentiments expressed in it. President Barack Obama also made his feelings known about the audio saying, “when ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk.”
NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver waited for the weekend to pass as investigations were conducted to confirm the validity of the tapes. Silver announced punishment for Sterling and his racist statements on Tuesday, April 29, indicating that Sterling would be banned from the NBA for life and expects him to sell the Clippers’ effective immediately in a report on the NBA website stating, “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. [Silver] also fined Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA Constitution. These funds will be donated to charitable organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its Players Association.”
Silver continued to “express [his] thanks and admiration to Coach Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, and the entire Clippers organization for their professionalism throughout this matter, and to Chris and Mayor Kevin Johnson for their leadership and partnership on behalf of the Players Association.”
Magic Johnson responded to the news stating on Twitter that “Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers Donald Sterling for life,” and that “Former and current NBA players are very happy and satisfied with Commissioner Silver’s ruling.” Johnson then proceeded to encourage Clippers’ fans to “go out and support the team against the Warriors” tonight.