NEW YORK - Denouncing Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's racist comments in strong language, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the league has banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million.
"The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is on the recordings ... is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful feelings are those of Mr. Sterling. The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply disturbing and alarming," Silver said.
"As for Mr. Sterling's ownership interest in the Clippers," Silver said. "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."
Silver said he made the decision to ban Sterling Tuesday morning and that he will begin immediately the process of trying to get Sterling to sell the team.
"This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family," Silver said.
Sliver said he didn't poll the owners, but did speak to several who he said supports the decision.
"The owners have the authority subject to 3/4 vote, to remove him as owner," Silver said.
One of the owners who fully supports the penalties levied by Silver is the Timberwolves' Glen Taylor. "The Timberwolves stand firmly in full support of the swift and impactful action taken today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver," Taylor said in a written statement. "His leadership and direction in this matter is completely appropriate and appreciated by the Timberwolves organization. We stand unified with Commissioner Silver today and reaffirm our organization's zero tolerance approach to the type of reprehensible behavior which caused this action."
In Silver's first seminal moment as commissioner since taking over for David Stern in February, he issued the heaviest penalty possible under his power, which is governed by the NBA's private constitution and bylaws.
Promising a quick investigation, Silver confirmed the voice on the audio is Sterling's and said the recording was not tampered with, as the Clippers suggested was possible in a statement on Saturday.
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Comments allegedly by Sterling surfaced Saturday when TMZ posted the audio recording on its web site. In a conversation between the man and a female friend, he chastised the woman for posting pictures of herself on Instagram with minorities, including Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Los Angeles Dodgers Matt Kemp.
"Why are you taking pictures with minorities, why?" he said.
He continued: "Don't put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. … And don't bring him to my games, OK?" the person said on the audio recording.
"Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?" person also said.