NEW YORK -- The commissioner of the National Basketball Association has banned the Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million for his racially charged comments that were caught on tape.
Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday. Silver said an investigation into the comments that were recorded by Sterling's girlfriend found the voice was indeed Sterling and that the "hateful opinions" were Sterling's.
Silver also says he will try to force a sale of the Clippers. He called Sterling's comments and views "deeply offensive and harmful."
The players' union asked Silver to rule quickly, preferably before the Clippers play host to Golden State in the fifth game of their playoff series this evening. Last weekend, Silver said he has broad authority to address issues with owners that threaten the game's best interests.
Silver received pressure from all sides, including the NAACP which had asked for a meeting with him. The controversy is now hitting the Clippers where it hurts, in the wallet, as several companies have pulled their advertising.
Silver also personally apologized to anyone who was offended by the comments, including some of the biggest stars in the NBA like Magic Johnson and Bill Russell.
Johnson, who is referenced in the taped conversation, says Silver "showed great leadership" in banning Sterling for life.
Current star LeBron James of the Miami Heat tweeted his thanks to Silver for protecting the NBA by taking the action against the Clippers owner. James called the commissioner a "great leader."
As for the Clippers, the team's website has a simple message that reads, "We are one." The team issued a statement saying, "We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today." It said, "Now the healing process begins."
On the recording, Sterling is heard telling his girlfriend not to bring black people to the games and to not post pictures of herself with black people on her social media accounts.
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