Team owner Donald Sterling will not appear at the next Los Angeles Clippers games, according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. The move was voluntary, said the commissioner during a press conference Saturday night.
Silver said he will move “extraordinarily quickly” to investigate an audio recording purportedly of Sterling making several racist remarks to his girlfriend. The league won’t take disciplinary action until the investigation is concluded, he said.
“We do hope to have [the investigation] wrapped up in the next few days,” said Silver.
Gossip website TMZ.com released an audio recording of a conversation reportedly between Sterling and girlfriend V. Stiviano. The man on the recording tells the woman he does not want her to bring black men to Clippers games. He also demanded she not post photographs of her with black men on Instagram.
Silver said he wants to fully investigate the matter before making any ruling about discipline.
“It would be unwise of me and improper, frankly, to express a view of what the ultimate outcome of any investigation would take us to,” said Silver.
Silver stressed that the players are committed to playing their playoff games going forward.
The Clippers play the Golden State Warriors 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
In a statement released Saturday, Clippers player and National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul said the union will pursue the matter “aggressively.” Paul said Player Association official and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson would expand his role with the union while Paul prepares for the playoffs. Johnson offered a stronger statement Saturday night:
The reported comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling are reprehensible and unacceptable. The National Basketball Players Association must and will play a very active role in determining how this issue is addressed. There needs to be an immediate investigation and if the reports are true, there needs to be strong and swift action taken. I have spoken with NBPA President Chris Paul and will be leading the NBPA in addressing the implications of this serious matter.
In a Saturday interview with TMZ Sports, Sterling questioned the authenticity of the recording and insisted he was not racist.
Boston.com will update this story as it develops.Scalese can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @BertoScalese.