Donald Sterling Slapped With NBA Ban And $2.5 Million Fine, And It's Exactly What He Deserves

Bye, Donald Sterling. The racist Clippers owner is actually facing consequences for his noxious comments (and decades of discrimination) against the black and Hispanic communities. Yup: Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life Tuesday. The ban was a rare case of an old white guy getting exactly what he deserves for being a racist bigot, though as we've noted, it probably should've happened years ago. As part of his punishment, Sterling was also fined $2.5 million.

The fine was the maximum and most severe allowed by the NBA's constitution, and was especially rare because the NBA is a private organization with lots of not-so-unsullied team owners and tends to operate with a degree of secrecy. Sterling's ouster is not exactly reason for celebration, but it's a relief for the team and league's players, fans, sponsors, and, you know, other people, like general advocates of fairness, justice, and equality. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said it will force Sterling out, effective immediately.

The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views. They simply have no place in the N.B.A.

As part of the investigation, Silver said Sterling admitted recordings released of a person that was obviously him were in fact obviously him. This happily ends attempts by news organizations to assure the public that they can't "verify the authenticity" of the recording, in which Sterling asks his mistress to stop putting up photos of black men, including former NBA player and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, on her Instagram.

...Don’t bring him to my games. Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?
Elsa/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Far beyond Instagram, the real meat of the story is Sterling's long history of making insanely discriminatory comments and — this is the most important part – actually acting on his opinions. That includes a multimillion-dollar settlement he made with the U.S. government after allegedly discriminating against black people and Latinos living in buildings he owned.

Sterling's comments set off a storm of indignation that included a rebuke from President Obama and protests from advertisers affiliated from the team. Sterling's removal could mean things will get awkward for Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks who said dumping Sterling would be the wrong call for the NBA. Silver said he was confident on Monday that he could get enough support among the owners to get rid of Sterling. Cuban said people were "allowed to be stupid" in the U.S.

There’s no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with. But at the same time, that’s a decision I make. I think you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It’s a very, very slippery slope.

It is definitely within Cuban's constitutional rights to be stupid enough to say that out loud. We're just glad Silver didn't listen.