NBA PM: Owners, Players Applaud Silver

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life and the league’s players and owners have backed his decision wholeheartedly.

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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Owners, Players Applaud Silver

The collective NBA world held their breath today while awaiting Commissioner Adam Silver’s press conference and his announcement over what the punishment would be for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s damning tapes in which his racist views were exposed more vividly than ever. There was concern that Silver didn’t have the power to levy the kind of punishment everyone was calling for, that he would simply slap him on the wrist with an indefinite suspension and a fine that would barely make him blink. But, within seconds of his press conference beginning, Silver made it clear that nobody was more furious than he was over the matter.

“Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA,” Silver said. “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices.  He may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity. I am also fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution.  These funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its Players Association.

“As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens.”

Prior to Silver’s announcement, Sterling spoke to Jim Gray of Fox News and told him that the team is not for sale. As Silver alluded to, the NBA’s Board of Governors determine Sterling’s fate as an owner, and within two hours more than the necessary 22 votes rolled through publicly. You can see them all below; the teams who haven’t put out public statements previously spoke against Sterling and are expected to vote that way as well.

Denver Nuggets: “Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and the Denver Nuggets wholeheartedly and emphatically support Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision that Donald Sterling be fined and banned for life from any involvement with the National Basketball Association.  Mr. Sterling’s words have absolutely no place in our working family or in a global sport that values inclusion, diversity and tolerance of people regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.”

Oklahoma City Thunder: “The Oklahoma City Thunder strongly supports the decisive action taken today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Ours is a league of inclusion, tolerance and fairness. The Thunder organization will continue to work to foster the tenets of diversity and respect, and build on that standard moving forward.”

Indiana Pacers: “I wholeheartedly endorse Commissioner Adam Silver’s swift, strong and decisive action with regard to Donald Sterling. These past days have been both sad and disturbing for the NBA family. It is our responsibility to continue as models of the diversity and inclusion the NBA has long and justly represented.”

Chicago Bulls: “We completely support Commissioner Silver’s decision today regarding Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and praise him for his prompt investigation and action.  The Commissioner was correct to ban Mr. Sterling from all official NBA business, to levy the stiffest allowable fine, and we will support his recommendation to press for Mr. Sterling to relinquish his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers franchise.  We believe Commissioner Silver’s decision reflects the best interests of the NBA and public civility. The league’s decision underscores the severity and reprehensible nature of the comments attributed to Donald Sterling.  These comments in no way reflect the attitude, values, and culture of the Bulls and White Sox organizations.  This behavior cannot be tolerated in any form. Discrimination and prejudice of any kind have no place in sports or in our society.”

Toronto Raptors: “As a proud member of the National Basketball Association, we stand strongly in our belief that the comments attributed to Mr. Sterling have no place in our society or sport. Our organization will always work to contribute to a culture of diversity and acceptance in this league and fully support the actions taken today. We thank Commissioner Adam Silver, and all of the NBA players, for their leadership on this important issue.”

Boston Celtics: “The entire Boston Celtics organization and our ownership group fully support the decisive action taken by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver today. The Celtics stand for inclusion and equality, and we are proud to be a part of a league that shares the same values.”

Atlanta Hawks: “I commend Commissioner Adam Silver in being diligent in how he handled this important matter. He acted swiftly and appropriately with the severity of the penalty and I strongly support his decision.”

Orlando Magic: “The Orlando Magic feel the recent reprehensible comments by Donald Sterling were absolutely unacceptable and do not reflect the values and beliefs of our organization or our league.  We applaud the leadership of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, as well as Head Coach Doc Rivers and his players, who are at the epicenter of the situation.”

Los Angeles Lakers: “In my statement yesterday, I said I had full confidence in Adam Silver and how he and the NBA would handle this situation. In today’s announcement Adam was decisive, firm and compelling and showed great leadership in his condemnation of the horrible and offensive comments that have led to this action.”

New York Knicks: “I have been in touch with the NBA and fully support Commissioner Silver’s decision. I applaud Adam for acting quickly and decisively in appropriately addressing these disgusting and offensive comments. This kind of behavior has no place in basketball, or anywhere else, and we as a league must stand together in condemning this ignorance.”

Charlotte Bobcats: “I applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s swift and decisive response today. He sent a powerful message that there can be zero tolerance for racism and hatred in the NBA. I’m confident that the league, our players and our fans will move on from this stronger and more unified.”

Cleveland Cavaliers: “It is shocking that anyone could hold the kind of offensive and feeble minded views that are being attributed allegedly to the Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. The diverse staff members of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise are unified in encouraging Commissioner Silver and the NBA to respond with swift and appropriate action consistent with a strong zero tolerance approach to this type of reprehensible behavior.”

Utah Jazz: “On behalf of the Miller family, we support the decisive action by Commissioner Silver and the NBA to reaffirm that there is no place for racism and hatred in our league. The Jazz organization and all the teams in the NBA should act as national leaders in promoting inclusiveness and diversity. We have a responsibility in our communities to fight against discrimination and ignorance and showcase sports as an example of respect and tolerance. While this situation has been inexcusable, I hope it serves the greater purpose of reinforcing our vigilance against this type of behavior.”

New Orleans Pelicans: “In light of the serious matter facing our league, a matter that transcends sports, the New Orleans Pelicans fully support the decisions made today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and will fully support his recommendations moving forward.”

Phoenix Suns: “I applaud the actions taken today by Commissioner Silver in response to the disturbing comments made by Donald Sterling,” Sarver said in a statement. “Commissioner Silver’s decision upholds the principles of diversity, tolerance and respect for all people that the NBA and Phoenix Suns represent. The Commissioner has my full support.”

Dallas Mavericks: “I agree 100% with Commissioner Silver’s findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling.”

Minnesota Timberwolves: “The Timberwolves stand firmly in full support of the swift and impactful action taken today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. His leadership and direction in this matter is completely appropriate and appreciated by the Timberwolves organization. We stand unified with Commissioner Silver today and reaffirm our organization’s zero tolerance approach to the type of reprehensible behavior which caused this action.”

Memphis Grizzlies: “Although this has been a trying week for the NBA, I believe one of the strengths of the game of basketball is bringing people together. People from all backgrounds and walks of life. This is especially true in Memphis and will always be embraced by this franchise.”

Sacramento Kings: “Great leadership today from @NBA Adam Silver. Very clear message about who we are as a league & where we’re going. #NBA 3.0 #secondthemotion”

Brooklyn Nets: “Today’s announcement by Commissioner Silver sends a strong message that racism and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated in the NBA family. The Nets organization welcomes and fully supports the decision and remains committed to tolerance and respect for all. We can all be proud that the reaction throughout the NBA – from players, management, ownership and fans – has been unequivocal and united in condemning the scourge of racism.”

San Antonio Spurs: “I want to be very careful. The league is doing its own investigation and I don’t want to jump the gun. I don’t know the context, but from what I’ve heard it sounds bad and it isn’t like this is the first go-around for him.”

Miami HEAT: “Great job Adam. The @NBA is in good hands. You have my full support.”

Milwaukee Bucks: “We denounce the offensive, racist comments made by Mr. Sterling, and we stand with the actions Commissioner Silver has taken against him.”

Philadelphia 76ers: “Without question, discrimination in any form is unacceptable and has no place in the National Basketball Association or anywhere else in society. The comments were hurtful and outrageous, and in no way reflect the values and beliefs of myself, our ownership group or the Philadelphia 76ers organization. I am confident that Commissioner Silver will undertake a thorough and thoughtful investigation into the matter.”

Detroit Pistons: “I am proud of Adam Silver for providing the leadership and strength necessary in this situation. He has my full support.”

Golden State Warriors: “We applaud the firm punishment handed out today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and appreciate the swiftness with which the NBA conducted its investigation. Similarly, we anticipate that the NBA Board of Governors will act promptly to put this chapter behind us. As I noted on Sunday, the sentiments expressed on the audio recording were completely inappropriate, unacceptable and senseless.  We cannot tolerate such feelings or beliefs, not only in the NBA, but in society in general.  There is absolutely no room for racism in our world, period.”

Houston Rockets: “This kind of behavior can’t be allowed in the NBA by owners, players or anybody. This guy has no place in the family of the NBA. Whatever it takes, we have to make sure this kind of event never happens again.”

Washington Wizards: “As I have stated, there should be zero tolerance for hatemongering. Hate speech demonstrates an ignorance that is unacceptable, and I implore all of us to help eliminate any form of discrimination. I have full confidence that Commissioner Silver will conduct a thorough investigation and act accordingly upon his findings.”

Portland Trail Blazers: “I completely support NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s decisive action on the Sterling issue. Great leadership and the league is in good hands.”

Los Angeles Clippers: “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”

Now, we all await Sterling’s next move. The public votes given by the owners do not count officially. A meeting with the Board of Governors will have to be scheduled, then an official vote can be taken. From there Sterling will have five days to respond, but under Paragraph 13 of the ownership constitution they have the right to terminate his ownership due to violations of businesses requirement to conduct themselves on a “reasonable” and “ethical” level with a three-fourths vote. Clearly, it’ll pass with ease.

Sterling could try to drag out the sale by taking this to the courts and filing anti-trust lawsuits, but Silver is confident in his decision, likely knowing even beforehand that there was no chance any team in the league would go against his wishes.

“Let’s just leave it that we have the authority to act as I’ve recommended,” Silver said.

Where there is no room for litigation is the other punishments Silver handed out: the $2.5 million fine and the lifetime ban. Paragraph 24 of the constitution states: A commissioner’s decision shall be final, binding and conclusive and shall be as final as an award of arbitration.

“The lifetime ban has been instituted,” Silver said. “That is independent of forcing a sale of the team.”

This is a moment to be celebrated, as Silver did absolutely everything in his power to punish Sterling and he has the support of every single owner in his decision. However, Sterling is not going to go without a fight and we could be quite a ways away from the day where he officially has no ties whatsoever to the franchise. In the meantime, according to reports, Clippers president Andy Roeser will handle the day-to-day operations of the team while the NBA will act as owners.

Players React to Sterling News

Here’s a look at some of the reactions from NBA players around the league upon Silver’s decision:

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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