With NBA commissioner Adam Silver set to announce action against Donald Sterling on Tuesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said he would like the Clippers owner barred from attending any remaining playoff games.
Although NBA bylaws give the pro basketball league the power to oust owners in certain circumstances, experts said Silver would be more likely to hit the Clippers' owner with a sizable fine and a lengthy suspension, perhaps with the intent of pressuring the real estate magnate to sell the franchise he has owned for 33 years.
On Monday, 15 Clippers advertisers said they were ending or suspending their sponsorship, although most expressed their continued support for the team's players, coaches and fans.
Banning Sterling from playoff games, Garcetti said Monday, is "just the beginning of what should happen."
Garcetti is scheduled to speak after Silver makes his announcement.
The mayor said he had consulted with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson -- a former NBA basketball player -- about what action the NBA could take.
“It’s unclear what they have the formal mechanism to do. ... But I think that there can be suspension, there certainly can be financial penalties, and long term we should be looking at whether this is the right ownership for the team,” Garcetti said.
“Owners retain certain rights. It's their property. But they're also part of a league that has a lot of authority. … This isn't just about tainting the Los Angeles Clippers, this taints the entire National Basketball Assn.,” the mayor added.
Garcetti said he favors a transition to new ownership of the Clippers but acknowledged that will probably take time. "I'd be happy with it right away," the mayor said. "But I don't think the NBA has that power right away.”
The mayor said he did not plan to attend protests Tuesday outside Staples Center, saying he wanted players to be able to focus on the game with the Golden State Warriors. (The teams are tied 2-2 in their best-of-seven series.) He added, however, that he sympathized with the protesters.
The celebrity website TMZ posted an audio recording Friday that purportedly captures Sterling telling a woman identified as V. Stiviano that "it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.” In the recording, the people identified as Stiviano and Sterling argued over the woman posting a photo of herself on Instagram alongside Magic Johnson.
An attorney for Stiviano told The Times that the recording was authentic. Clippers President Andy Roeser said in a statement Saturday that the team did not know if the man recorded was Sterling but that the comments didn't reflect Sterling's "views, beliefs or feelings."
Garcetti called the comments attributed to Sterling "reprehensible."
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