The NBA is launching an investigation into L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling after an audio recording of derogatory comments made towards blacks circulated on Saturday.
The tape features a man, allegedly Sterling, arguing with his girlfriend about posting a picture of herself with Magic Johnson on Instagram and asking her not to bring black people to Clippers games.
Backlash from the comments has been fierce, with fans, players, and NBA officials criticizing Sterling. Clippers players enacted a silent protest of their own during game four of the playoffs, wearing their warm-up gear inside out to avoid revealing the Clippers logo.
Clippers sponsors have already begun to pull ads and dissociate from the club. Clippers coach Doc Rivers, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James have all spoken out against Sterling and the comments.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called the remarks “truly offensive and disturbing” -- the league will conduct rapid assessment of the tapes’ authenticity and will take action based on the results.
If the voice on the recording is verified, it could result in heavy fines and suspension for Sterling.
How should players and fans react? What’s the best course of action in dealing with Sterling? Can an owner be forced to sell their team -- should they be? How will the Clippers separate themselves from Sterling’s comments and finish out their season?
Geoffrey Rapp, Co-Editor, The Sports Law Blog; Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values, The University of Toledo