President Barack Obama is supporting the NBA’s lifetime ban against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Wednesday that Obama believes the league did the right thing in response to Sterling’s racist comments.
Obama had weighed into the controversy over the weekend during a trip to Asia, calling Sterling’s secretly recorded comments “incredibly offensive racist statements”.
Obama also cast Sterling’s remarks as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and discrimination that Americans have to constantly be on guard against.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the punishment on Tuesday, fining Sterling $US2.5 million ($A2.7 million) and also saying he will try to force a sale of the Clippers.
The NBA owners’ advisory and finance committee were due to hold a conference call on Thursday to discuss the next steps in the removal of Sterling.
That would require the support of three quarters of the league’s owners in a vote.
Silver said on Tuesday that he was confident he had the votes, which appears true given the numerous statements of support that were released by teams.
Meanwhile, the rumour mill was churning in overdrive on Wednesday over who would buy the team, with everyone from boxing greats Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather to millionaire musician Sean “Diddy” Combs on the list of potential suitors.
Billionaire media tycoon David Geffen told Forbes he “would very much like to buy the team”, while die-hard Clippers fan and actor Frankie Muniz, best known for his role on Malcolm in the Middle, said on Facebook, perhaps in jest, that he would like to buy them.
Sterling’s comments – made public by celebrity news website TMZ – sparked a firestorm within the league.
Sterling, who confirmed to the NBA that it was his voice on the recording, told his girlfriend: “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”