Oakland, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson said NBA players are pushing for maximum possible punishment against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his alleged racist comments to girlfriend V. Stiviano.
Johnson, a former player working on behalf of the National Basketball Players Association, met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver Sunday before they attended Game 4 of the Clippers’ first-round series against the Golden State Warriors.
During the meeting, Johnson laid out what the players felt were key objectives in terms of the league’s dealings with Sterling.
Aside from the maximum possible punishment, players want the NBA to ban Sterling from attending future playoff games this season.
“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.
“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,” he added.
Johnson added he wanted Silver to explain the range of sanctions that could be levied against Sterling if the accusations against him were true and then to see the maximum level of those sanctions used.
Sterling attended Game 3 Thursday night in Oakland, California and was planning to be at Game 4 on Sunday before speaking with the league and agreeing not to attend as it investigated his comments.
Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, however, was at Sunday’s game and sat courtside across from the Clippers’ bench in their 118-97 loss.
“I don’t condone those statements and I don’t believe in them,” Rochelle Sterling said. “I’m not a racist. Never have been, never will be. The team is the most important thing to my family.”
Stiviano’s lawyer released a statement Sunday afternoon that stated the tapes carrying the purported voices of Stiviano and Sterling were “legitimate.”
The quotes came from approximately an hour’s worth of recorded conversation that Stiviano says she did not leak to the media.