Sacramento mayor and National Basketball Players Association search committee chairman Kevin Johnson sent an email to players outlining the actions the players union wants NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to take regarding Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling's purportedly racially insensitive comments, including a process that is carried out "swiftly and decisively" within seven days.
The NBA said on Monday it will hold a news conference on Tuesday to make an announcement about its investigation involving Sterling.
The NBA is investigating whether Sterling made comments in an audio recording that was obtained by TMZ and posted on its web site. Johnson called the comments on the recording "the worst kind of ignorance and intolerance" and told players and agents he wants to "ensure that there are strong consequences for this abhorrent behavior."
Though not related to the search for a NBPA executive director, Johnson CC'd certified agents on the email to keep them updated of the union's plans. In the email, he called
Speaking to reporters at halftime of the Clippers-Golden State Warriors game on Sunday, Johnson listed the five actions he wants to Silver to take.
He spelled them out in greater detail, and here they are in Johnson's words:
- Provide an assurance that the NBPA will be engaged as a full partner in this process. We believe that this is a defining moment for the NBA. The decisions made in this situation will send a clear message about what kind of culture, expectations and respect embody this league. We will not be passive participants in this process. The NBPA should be afforded a seat at the table as decisions are being made and the collective voice of the players must be heard.
- Ensure that Mr. Sterling does not attend any of the games for the Clippers or any other team for the duration of the playoffs. We feel that Mr. Sterling's presence is inappropriate in light of the gravity of the accusations and want to avoid having that unnecessary distraction at our games.
- Give us a full accounting of the prior accusations of racism made against Mr. Sterling and why there were no sanctions by the NBA. It is most troubling for us to learn that the recent events may be simply one in a series of discriminatory actions by Mr. Sterling. We've asked for the NBA's explanation of why the league has not taken action against him to date given the code of conduct that exists for players and owners alike.
- Explain the range of sanctions that are possible if these accusations are found true. During the Commissioner's press conference, he stated that the NBA has the discretion to use "broad powers" to apply a range of sanctions for this type of behavior. We would like to understand that in fuller detail, specifically what the most severe consequences allowable are.
- Carry this process out swiftly and decisively. This situation must be addressed immediately. We are asking that the entire process be completed and consequences determined inside of 7 days to minimize the negative impact that this is having on the league. Additionally, once the investigation is complete, the NBA must impose the strongest sanctions allowable under the by-laws to send an unequivocal message. They must leave no doubt that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
Johnson concluded, "Commissioner Silver understood our rationale for each of the requested actions and I am confident he will act accordingly."
PHOTOS: CLIPPERS OWNER DONALD STERLING