Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned "for life" and fined $2.5 million after the NBA said it confirmed he made racist comments in a conversation that was recorded and leaked online.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement Tuesday in New York. He said he was also urging the Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the team.
TMZ Sports released an audio recording on Friday of a conversation the 81-year-old Sterling had with his then-girlfriend V. Stiviano. In the recording, a man can be heard telling a woman not to "broadcast" that she was "associating with black people."'
TMZ said the man made the comments after she posted a photo with Magic Johnson on Instagram.
“Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” the man says in the recording.
“You can do anything, but don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see,” he adds. “And don’t bring him to my games.”
Silver said the NBA had confirmed that the man on the recordings was Sterling.
"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 had no immediate comment.
The leaked comments drew protests on and off the court, backlash from Clippers sponsors and calls for action from current and former NBA stars.
The team said in a statement Tuesday that "we wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision" and added, "now the healing process begins."
Clippers coach Doc Rivers echoed the team's sentiment in a game before the team's playoff game against Golden State Tuesday, saying, "I think we're all in a better place because of this."
"The last three or four days have been very difficult for everybody involved and no matter what the race is, it's been difficult," Rivers said. "I thought Adam Silver today was fantastic. Personally, I thought he made a decision that really was the right one that had to be made."
The Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors 113-103 to go up 3-2 in the first-round playoff series.
The ban means Sterling cannot attend NBA games or practices, enter any Clippers facility or participate in any business or player decisions about the team.
Silver said the ban applies only to Sterling and does not extend to his family members.