Following recent racist recordings surfacing featuring Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the situation Saturday (April 26), saying the league will allow an investigation to play out before imposing any sanctions on the franchise owner.
In a statement, Silver said Sterling was owed due process, but added that the NBA would move “extraordinarily quickly” in gathering the facts surrounding the recording released by TMZ.
For now, Sterling told the league he would not attend his team’s playoff game Sunday (April 27) at Golden State.
“All members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy,” Silver said. “The core of the investigation is understanding whether the tape is authentic, interviewing Mr. Sterling and interviewing the woman as well and understanding the context in which it was recorded.”
In the audio recording, leaked by TMZ, the man’s voice (said to be Sterling) questions his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, about her association with “minorities,” specifically calling her out about a photo she posted on Instagram featuring herself alongside Magic Johnson.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” Sterling says. “You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that … and not to bring them to my games.”
The Clippers are also investigating the matter, releasing their own statement, which says that the audio doesn’t reflect Sterling’s “views, beliefs or feelings.”
“We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered,” he said. “We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would ‘get even.’
“Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them.”
Furthermore, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers chimed in after the team’s practice Saturday, revealing that both him and his players aren’t happy about Sterling’s comments.
“I don’t know if I’m surprised or not,” Rivers said. “I didn’t like the comments, obviously. We had a great team meeting this morning about it. A lot of guys voiced their opinions. None of them were happy about it. This is a situation where we’re trying to go after something very important for us. Something that we’ve all dreamed about all our childhoods. Donald or anyone else had nothing to do with that dream and we’re not going to let anything get in the way of those dreams.”