Current and former NBA players praised the league’s decision to punish LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban over racist remarks he made in an audio recording. Commissioner Adam Silver announced the punishment Tuesday, days after the audio emerged.
In addition to the lifetime ban, the NBA also fined Sterling $2.5 million.
After the NBA announced the punishment, the Clippers organization issued a statement saying, “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”
Here’s a roundup of reactions to the punishment from players and others:
“I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you,” said Sacramento Mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson, who also works with the NBA Players Association.
“Today, [Adam Silver] is not only the owners’ commissioner,” Johnson said. “He’s the players’ commissioner. And we are proud to call him our commissioner.”
“Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life,” tweeted Magic Johnson, who was mentioned in Sterling’s recorded remarks. He added, “The people who I’m happiest for are Coach Doc Rivers, the Clippers players and fans.”
“We all started clapping because he handled it the right way,” said former LA Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who watched Silver’s announcement today with a group that included Kevin Johnson.
“Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!” reads a tweet from the Miami Heat’s LeBron James.
Current LA Laker Steve Nash said, “if racism is a learned behavior, how long will it go on for? How long will people be taught to be bigoted, to discriminate and to instill hatred in our communities?”
“Today we feel like justice has been served,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I want to personally thank Commissioner Silver for bringing down the hammer.”
“David Stern (who I always liked/respected) always got boo’d at the NBA Draft,” tweeted ESPN’s Stuart Scott. “Adam Silver will get a raucous LOUD Standing Ovation.”
After the NBA’s announcement, members of the players association called for the league to vote soon on forcing Sterling out as an owner. Johnson and NBAPA Vice President Roger Mason also stated that if strong action had not been taken today, players were prepared to boycott games.
As for the Clippers, the team replaced its website’s main page Tuesday afternoon with a stark page with the statement “We Are One,” along with the Clippers logo.
For more analysis of the case, check out Code Switch’s post on “How Donald Sterling Violated The NBA’s Unspoken Social Contract.”