SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The L.A. Clippers played the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night in Game 5 of their Western Conference playoff series, but Clippers owner Donald Sterling was not allowed to attend the game.
The NBA announced Tuesday that Sterling is banned from attending any NBA games or practices because he made a racist remark in a recorded conversation. He’ll also have to pay a $2.5 million fine.
“That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.” Harsh words Tuesday from Adam Silver about racist comments made by Sterling in the recorded conversation.
Commissioner Silver said Sterling admitted that the voice on the recording was his voice. Many people here in western Massachusetts told 22News they were appalled when they heard that recorded conversation.
“It’s disgusting to have people, in this day and age, still talking like that,” said Judy Campion of Wilbraham.
Many people agreed, a lifetime ban from the NBA and a fine of $2.5 million may not change Sterling’s attitudes. Kirk Smith is the President and CEO of YMCA Greater Springfield. He told 22News, “I don’t think that this type of punishment will eradicate prejudice, bigotry or racism.”
Jose Rubero of Belchertown said, “There are people that have not grown out of that point-of-view and holding their own ways.”
However, they said the punishment sends a strong message, racism will never be tolerated. Smith said, “Because we have a long way to go here, let’s be honest. There’s a lot to be done in our community, and maybe this type of situations will bring us together, so we can overpower the negative.”
Former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers now coaches the Clippers. Rivers released a statement saying he is disappointed at the comments attributed to Sterling, and he asked for the fans to continue supporting the players.