Editor’s Note: This was originally reported by Ben Golliver of SI.com
Moments before NBA commissioner Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban and a $2.5M fine to Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was caught on tape making a series of racist remarks, Fox News reported that Sterling said that he will not sell his basketball team.
“I just spoke with Donald Sterling on the telephone just moments ago,” Fox News Contributor Jim Gray reported. “He is unaware of what is going to happen to him. He has not been notified [of his impending punishment by Silver]. He also said he really didn’t want to comment on the record, however the team is not for sale and he will not be selling the team.”
During his press conference, held in New York City on Tuesday, Silver pledged to work with the NBA’s owners to force Sterling to sell.
“I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force the sale of the team,” Silver said. “I will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens.”
Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday that while they are pleased with Silver’s decision, they still believe Sterling must be removed as Clippers owner.
“We want maximum allowable punishment under the bylaws and constitution and what that equates to for us as players, there must be a change in ownership,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is acting as an adviser for the NBPA.
“As players, we’re very happy with the decision, but we’re not content yet,” NBPA vice president Roger Mason Jr. said.
“We want immediate action. We want a timetable from the owners on when this vote is going to happen. We feel confident that with Adam Silver’s urging, and we’ve heard from a lot of the owners around the league, we think this is something that can be handled quickly.”
The Clippers’ organization, independent of Sterling, issued a statement on Tuesday applauding Silver’s decision.
“We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today,” the statement read. “Now the healing process begins.”
Sterling, who had been the NBA’s longest-tenured owner, bought the Clippers in 1981 for a reported $12.5 million.
VIDEO CREDIT: Fox News | SOURCE: SI