B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International applauds National Basketball Association (NBA) Commissioner Adam Silver for acting swiftly against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling following his reprehensible comments made regarding African Americans in a recently published recording.
In an April 29 press conference Silver announced a lifetime ban for Sterling from any association with the Clippers or the NBA, as well as a $2.5 million fine. Silver verified it was indeed Sterling’s voice in an audio recording released to the media on April 26 by Sterling’s former girlfriend, V. Stiviano. The tape contained a conversation that took place between Stiviano and Sterling, who makes numerous vile remarks about African Americans.
Silver also addressed the possibility of forcing Sterling to sell the Clippers saying, “I will urge the board of governors to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that happens.” The NBA’s constitution does grant team owners the authority to force a fellow owner to sell his team under special circumstances and with a super-majority vote.
Sterling has been sued multiple times for racially motivated discrimination in his various business endeavors.
It is deeply saddening that, just weeks before the 50th anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, we are confronted with stark evidence that primitive, bigoted attitudes continue to manifest themselves in our society. Despite the major strides America has taken to thwart racial inequality over those 50 years, this hateful rhetoric serves as a wake-up call that there is still much work to be done. B’nai B’rith will continue fight intolerance as we have done for more than 170 years.
B’nai B’rith is pleased the NBA was able to expeditiously investigate the situation and hand down an unprecedented punishment. There is no place in sports or anywhere in society for such language.