MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Banned for life. Basketball Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday, April 29th slapped Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban from the sport, and a $2.5 million fine over racist remarks attributed to Sterling. Silver also said the NBA will force Sterling to sell the Clippers -- a team he has owned since the 1980s. Reaction is coming in from all over since the decision was announced on Tuesday afternoon. FOX6 News got reaction from a former NBA player, as well as the president of Milwaukee's NAACP.
Tony Smith, a former NBA player and current broadcaster says he feels the NBA had no other choice but to take the action it did against Sterling.
The firestorm erupted Saturday, April 26th, when TMZ.com posted a 10-minute recording of what it said was an April 9th conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend, V. Stiviano.
On the recording, the man and woman argue about photos posted to Instagram in which she appears with African-Americans.
The man says he doesn’t want the woman bringing any black people to games with her.
Sterling admitted it was his voice on the recording, Silver said Tuesday.
"I think the NBA would have taken a big time hit if they would have allowed him to stay around in any capacity. So I believe Adam Silver and the NBA did the correct thing by removing him. It`s one thing for someone to have those feelings and the rumors to be around, but when it`s actually out there and it`s on tape and it`s live and it`s tangible, you can actually touch it, it turned into a different level," Smith said.
James Hall, the president of the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP says the announcement by Silver Tuesday left him "pleasantly surprised."
"I think the NBA`s showing that it wants -- it will weed out a rotten apple like that sends a clear signal that others hopefully will pick up on and know that that conduct is unacceptable. The fact that there are others who have not disassociated themselves with those comments and not disavowed them, show that these types of attitudes persist and there`s a lot of work to be done in dealing with them. The NBA has come out with action that is in my view appropriate and strong and clearly signals that that type of conduct is unnaccpetable," Hall said.
"I didn`t know what the league was going to be able to do legally, but they did the max they could do," Smith said.
The Milwaukee Bucks have issued a statement from owner Herb Kohl, saying: "We denounce the offensive, racist comments made by Mr. Sterling, and we stand with the actions Commissioner Silver has taken against him."