29 Apr 2014

Mounting pressure on NBA to act against LA Clipper owner

3:38 pm on 29 April 2014

There's mounting pressure on the National Basketball Association to impose a harsh punishment on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his alleged racist comments, as several of the team's sponsors withdrew their backing.

Sterling is being investigated by the NBA over comments he allegedly made that have since sparked widespread outrage in the United States, and the league will hold a news conference in New York City tomorrow morning to discuss developments.

The NBA's announcement came after some of the team's sponsors began withdrawing their financial support of the Clippers while Sterling's own family distanced themselves from him.

The Clippers owner, who made his fortune in real estate, has not issued any public statements but the alleged comments, which include telling a woman not to bring African-Americans to Clippers games, have drawn widespread criticism.

President Barack Obama weighed in, as did the Clippers players in a silent protest before Sunday's playoff game against the Golden State Warriors, while many Americans are calling for the NBA to send a message that such views will not be tolerated.

If the NBA investigation confirms that Sterling did make the racist comments, he could expect a harsh punishment.

There have already been calls for the billionaire to be removed as an NBA owner but he could also face a lengthy suspension and fine.

A lengthy suspension is widely seen as the likeliest outcome, according to experts, though the NBA is not expected to impose any punishment on Sterling until its investigation into the alleged comments is completed.