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Local leader weighs in on L.A. Clippers controversy

By Emily Kumlien, ekumlien@wisctv.com
Published On: Apr 29 2014 09:38:51 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 29 2014 09:42:13 PM CDT
Donald Sterling Clippers owner

REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

MADISON, Wis. -

The NBA playoffs are in full swing, but they're taking a backseat to a severe sentence handed down by the league's commissioner.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was caught on tape making racist comments. Sterling did admit that was his voice on the recordings.

New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver left no doubt this behavior would not be tolerated. Sterling has been banned for life and fined $2.5 million, which is the maximum amount allowed in the league. Sterling is also not allowed to attend games or practices or participate in any business decisions.

Local leaders said justice has been served, and they hope the conversation on race keeps going.

"That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage," Silver said.

"Those views don't surprise me, but we need to use this as an opportunity for a teachable moment," said Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.

"A lot of kids look up to the NBA in this community; the owners and players need to be held to a very high ethical standard," Johnson said.

Johnson applauded the NBA for donating the $2.5 million fine to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination.

"I think some people are fatigued by the conversations, but now we need to act and make sure that we are taking care of kids and our families so we are not having this conversation in 2065. The views he made has no place in the NBA or in the communities. The NBA took a very strong stance. I am glad they took that and justice has been served," Johnson said.

Ever since this story broke Friday, Clippers sponsors have been dropping out. UCLA announced it's turning down $3 million pledged by Sterling.

The Bucks released a statement Tuesday that said, "We denounce the offensive, racist comments made by Mr. Sterling, and we stand with the actions Commissioner Silver has taken against him."

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