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Editorial: Owner’s comments reflect his racism

Cartoon by Steve Benson

The National Basketball Association made a bold and clear statement Tuesday that there is no room for bigotry on the part of anyone involved in its activities.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned for life Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from all activities and offices of the Clippers’ franchise. The commissioner also fined Sterling $2.5 million for his recorded racist comments and said he would begin “immediately” to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

Sterling confirmed to Silver that the comments on the reported audiotape were his. The NBA’s investigation concluded Monday night that the September recording was indeed legitimate.

“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 Kevin Johnson, chairman of the National Basketball Players Association.

How true.

Sterling purchased the San Diego Clippers for $12 million in 1981. He later moved the team to Los Angeles. The team’s value is now estimated at $575 million.

His racist statements will prove to be costly for Sterling, his family, the Clippers franchise and the NBA community. Sterling has been strongly rebuked by many in public statements.

Sterling’s estranged wife said “our family is devastated by (his) racist comments.”

The team’s coaches and players are in the midst of a playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. The teams played the fifth game of the first-round series Tuesday night.

A significant number of team sponsors have temporarily suspended their support of the Clippers franchise.

This latest case is not the first controversy involving Sterling. He has faced federal charges of civil rights violations and racial discrimination in the business dealings as well being sued for sexual harassment by former employees.

Sterling’s comments were deplorable, reprehensible, hurtful and ignorant.

The NBA and its commissioner are to be commended for prompt and decisive action on Sterling.