UK & World News
Clippers Fans Demand Owner Sterling Sells Team
Fans of the Los Angeles Clippers have demanded that disgraced owner Donald Sterling be forced to sell the team over his racist comment shame.
Civil rights groups joined Clippers fans before the team's home match last night to welcome the NBA's decision to ban Sterling for life.
The protest was staged to show that "Donald Sterling's comments do not represent Los Angeles and the millions of collective voices of minorities who call Los Angeles home".
There was widespread support for the call by the NBA administrator Adam Silver for Sterling to be forced to sell.
"He might be banned from the games, but he is sitting at home counting the money," said one fan.
The fury at Sterling's comments, in which he asked his then-girlfriend not to bring black people to games, has reached everywhere from the White House to rappers and sports stars, and even the Clippers' city rivals the LA Lakers.
Outside of the Clippers' Staples Center home, Michael Smith, a long-time Lakers fan who used to perform in half-time shows, held up a sign asking: "What about black people who have given their lives in the service of this country?"
He told Sky News: "Obviously he was ranting, but what is bad is that he didn't make any distinction. There are good and bad people of all colours. We have black police officers in this city, good people."
Another fan was more blunt: "Why aren't the Clippers players out here protesting with us? They are the ones he's insulting as well."
Joe Crew arrived for the Clippers game with a black shirt and team jersey inside out.
He told Sky News: "I felt a hundred different emotions when I heard that recording. Did they do the right thing in banning him? You bet. 100%."
Basketball chiefs have said they will attempt to force him to sell the team but Sterling, who is the longest standing owner in the sport, has reportedly told friends that the Clippers are "not for sale".
Potential buyers for the Clippers, who are valued at $575m, include basketball legend Magic Johnson and entertainment mogul David Geffen. Both have expressed their interest.
Throughout the day the Clippers website featured a black page and the message: "We are one".
Former NBA star Kevin Johnson, now of the mayor of California's capital city Sacramento, said: "I believe that today stands as one of those great moments where sports once again transcends, where sports provides a place for fundamental change on how our country should think and act."