Los Angeles officials condemn Donald Sterling comments

BAsketball veteran Steve Nash

Clippers owner Donald Sterling was punished by the NBA for racist comments made against blacks, and L.A.’s leading politicians spoke out yesterday in response.

Mayor Eric Garcetti supported NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to ban Sterling from the league for life, among other penalites.

“None of us as Americans  and certainly not as Angelenos will stand for this sort of racism that we heard articulated,” said Garcetti. “This city is open for business, it’s ready for greatness, and that is reflected behind me.”

Hear more comments from L.A. officials in a piece from Annenberg Radio News:

Standing behind the mayor were several NBA players from around the league. They were untied with the Clippers against the remarks of their owner, including a member of their intercity rival, Steve Nash.

“If racism is a learned behavior, how long will it go on for. How long will it be taught?” said Nash. “Let’s hope this is an opportunity for all of us to help educate and to take one step further in eradicating racism in our communities.”

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was also on hand for the conference. Johnson is a former NBA player and was asked by the NBA Players’ Association to act as a liaison to the league during the controversy. His views on the matter were clear.

“We want maximum allowable punishment under the bylaws and the constitution. and what that relates to us as players; there must be a change in ownership.”

While the hope from the penalties is that Sterling sells the Clippers, this is easier said than done. Three-fourths of NBA owners must vote to make him sell the team, and some of the team owners might be worried about setting a precedent of having a team taken away from its owner.

Mayor Johnson was optimistic about the NBA’s future and hoped that this would send a statement to those who harbor racist feelings.

“I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling, and recognizes that if he can fall, so can  you,” he said.

Sterling has been fairly silent throughout this whole matter and was not present at the Clippers’ most recent game on Sunday.

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