The Sacramento mayor and former basketball player is negotiating for the suspension on behalf of the NBA Players Association
NBA players’ representative Kevin Johnson says players want the league to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the remainder of this year’s playoff games for his racist comments.
Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento and a three-time NBA All Star, is lobbying commissioner Adam Silver to give Sterling the maximum possible punishment, whatever it may be.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning” Monday, Johnson said players want to make sure that Sterling suffers “the most severe sanctions that are allowable under the NBA guidelines.”
Johnson and Silver met before Sunday’s Game 4 of the Clippers’ series against the Golden State Warriors, where he outlined the NBAPA’s five demands. Johnson outlined them at a news conference.
“The players wanted to ensure that Mr. Sterling does not attend any games for the Clippers or any other team for the duration of the playoffs,” Johnson said at a news conference Monday. “We’re confident that the commissioner understood that this is an enormous distraction for everyone, and we want the focus to really be on the games and what’s taking place on the court, and he certainly understood that.”
Johnson and the players also want a full accounting of the prior accusations of racism against Sterling, as well as an explanation for why sanctions from the league never occurred. Third, Johnson wants the range of possible sanctions against Sterling, the longest-tenured owner in the league, to be explained to the players.
The NBAPA also wants to be considered “full partners” in the process going forward. “We believe that this is a defining moment for the league, it’s a defining moment for the commission and its a defining moment for all of the players in this league,” Johnson said.
The fifth and final demand is swift, decisive and unequivocal action and justice from the league.
Johnson noted that the players’ demands should be balanced with Sterling’s right to due process.
“I think what we’re all struggling with right now is how do we not get too hasty or rush to judgment, and on the same token, we can’t approach this with any hesitancy,” Johnson said.
Watch the news conference:
More to come …