Basketball Commissioner Adam Silver was quick to punish Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban from the game and a $2.5 million fine for racist remarks that came to light in a recorded phone conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend.

NBA Donald Sterling

Contrary to the principles of inclusion

“Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league,” Silver said in a statement, noting that it didn’t matter whether Sterling’s views were expressed in private, “They are now public.”

Heated remarks to girlfriend in phone call

In an audio recording released on the celebrity gossip program TMZ Sports two days ago,

In a heated phone conversation Sterling said told his girlfriend V. Stiviano “don’t bring black people (to Clipper games) and don’t come.”

Stiviano responds “Do you know that you have a whole team that’s black, that plays for you?”

“Do I know?” Sterling responded. “I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses. Then he questions is the game is about the players or the league. “Do I make the game, or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners, that created the league?”  Sterling threatened to get another girlfriend if Stiviano didn’t fall in line with his worldview on race.

The fine from the NBA is the most severe that can be levied under the league’s rules. Sterling will be unable to attend games, practices and NBA meetings and may not participate in decisions regarding the team.  NBA owners are expected to be voting to force Sterling to sell the team, which requires a ¾ vote of owners.

Reactions around the league

Reactions from around the league were quick to come in over Twitter.

“I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling,” Tweeted Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

“Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!!” Tweeted Miami Heat player LeBron James.