Councilman Curren Price, whose South L.A. district includes Staples Center, called the remarks "a disgrace" and said he would join Magic Johnson in refusing to attend any Clippers games while Sterling remains the owner.
"It is incredibly disappointing to see someone who is leading a nationally recognized brand express this kind of ignorance and hatred," he said.
From President Obama to L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, the criticism of the recorded comments was swift.
"When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk," Obama said during a news conference in Malaysia.
Garcetti said through a spokesman Saturday that he condemns the "statements and sentiments" attributed to Sterling.
"These statements are offensive and despicable and have no place in Los Angeles. I urge the NBA to act swiftly. L.A. fans deserve and demand better," Garcetti said in a statement.
Councilman Bernard C. Parks, who represents a portion of South Los Angeles, went further, saying the council should take a formal position denouncing the remarks and demanding action from the NBA.
The NBA said it is conducting an investigation.
Late Friday, TMZ posted an audio recording it said captures Sterling making racist statements in the course of an argument. The Times has not confirmed the authenticity of the tape.
The Clippers released a statement released a statement in which President Andy Roeser says that the team does not know if the man recorded is Sterling but that the comments do not reflect Sterling's "views, beliefs or feelings."
A person identified by TMZ as Sterling can be heard in the recording, said to be made this month, telling a female friend, identified as V. Stiviano, that he was upset she posted a picture on her Instagram account of herself next to Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” the man in the recording says, later adding: “I’m just saying, in your … Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people.”
“Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me,” he says. “And don’t bring him to my games.”
The NBA released a statement saying it was conducting a “full investigation” into the recording.
“The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in the statement, “but at this time we have no further information.”
TMZ did not say how it obtained the recording.
The Los Angeles chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People had been scheduled to give Sterling the group's lifetime achievement award at its May 15 banquet. At that event, the NAACP chapter also planned to give its first "person of the year" awards to Garcetti and the Rev. Al Sharpton, according to the organization's website.
Parks compared the situation to remarks about black, Jewish and Japanese people made by Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott in the 1990s.
"Statements like this happen way too routinely to view an apology as sufficient," said Parks, whose district includes a significant number of African American residents. "The league needs to take action, much as they did in the Marge Schott situation in Cincinnati, where they went through multiple suspensions because of her derogatory and racist remarks, and then eventually forced her to sell her franchise."
Council President Herb Wesson wasn't prepared to say how the City Council should respond, saying the NBA should be allowed to complete its investigation.
"In the event that this is his voice, and those are his words, disciplinary action should take place," he said. "A player gets fined if he says something that's inappropriate, and I think you should hold the owners to the same standard."