Players laud Silver's quick, decisive punishment

Players laud Silver's quick, decisive punishment
April 29, 2014, 5:45 pm
Share This Post

The lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine that NBA commissioner Adam Silver levied on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks received rave reviews from many, including Sacramento mayor and former NBA guard Kevin Johnson -- the man charged with speaking on behalf of the league's players on this particular matter.

"On this day Adam Silver is not only the owner's commissioner, he's also the player's commissioner," Johnson told reporters shortly after Silver's announcement. "We're proud to call him our commissioner."

When Johnson was asked to get involved, he said the players had a three-fold plan for how they wanted things to play following Sterling's comments, in which he told his then-girlfriend that he didn't want her to associate with African-Americans in public or be seen with them via social media.

Johnson said the players 1) wanted immediate action, 2) their voices to be heard 3) "and thirdly, we want maximum allowable punishment under the by-laws and the constitution and what that amounts to as players, a change in ownership."

Silver's punishment comes just three days after Sterling's comments came to light. The $2.5 million fine was the most Silver could fine him under the league rules.

And as far as a change in ownership, Silver was emphatic in his feelings on a need for change.

"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," Silver said.

There needs to be a three-fourths vote of the Board of Governors to revoke Sterling's ownership of the team. It's expected to be challenged by the 81-year-old Sterling, who has owned the Clippers since 1981.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Nash, among the current players in attendance at Johnson's press conference, was among those to praise Silver for a "quick, unequivocal and precise decision."

Roger Mason, the first Vice President of the NBA Players Association, said there were plans in place to boycott games if "this type of action was not something that Adam Silver felt was necessary.

Mason added, "I'm happy to come here and say as players, we're very happy with the decision but we're not content yet. We want immediate action. We want a timetable from the owners as far as when this vote is going to happen. But we feel confident that with Adam Silver's urging . . . we think this is something that can be handled quickly."