BOSTON — The NBA moved one step closer to ridding itself of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whose racist rant over the weekend has led to a lifetime ban from the league that was announced Tuesday afternoon by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
In audio obtained by TMZ, Sterling was told his then-girlfriend that he didn't want her to publicly associate with African-Americans or be seen via social media with them as well.
"The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful," Silver said. "That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage."
Sterling was also fined $2.5 million -- the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution -- along with the ban, which prohibits the 81-year-old Sterling from "attending 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. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity."
Former NBA player Kevin Johnson, who has been asked to speak on behalf of the players throughout this process, spoke shortly after Silver's press conference.
"This is a defining moment in our history," said Johnson, who made reference to past civil rights trail blazers such as Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Arthur Ashe and Jackie Robinson. "Today's stance is one of those great moments where sports once again transcends. Where sports provides a place for fundamental change on how our country should think and act."
In addition, Silver said he will urge the league's Board of Governors to push for the team to be sold immediately.