Here, ABC News breaks down the scandal for you.
Donald Sterling, the 80-year old owner of the LA Clippers, who has owned the team since 1981, longer than any other current owner.
Vanessa Stiviano, Sterling’s 38-year-old girlfriend. The audio recording released by TMZ allegedly shows a conversation between Sterling and Stiviano about Stiviano’s Instagram account, in which she has posted photos of herself with black people including Magic Johnson.
Rochelle Sterling, Donald Sterling’s estranged wife of 50 years and mother of his three children. Rochelle Sterling recently filed a lawsuit accusing Stiviano of embezzling $1.8 million and says that Donald Sterling used communal property to give Stiviano two Bentleys, a Ferrari, and a Range Rover, according to the LA Times.
Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, who said he is investigating the legitimacy of the audio recording before deciding what course of action to take.
The audio recording has a male voice – allegedly Donald Sterling – chastising Stiviano for posting pictures of herself with black people to her Instagram account and admonishes her for wanting to be seen with black people. The male voice on the recording says that Stiviano can do whatever she wants in private, including having sex with black men, but should not post photos of them to the internet or bring them to Clippers’ games.
Stiviano points out that she is black and Latina. Sterling says that is fine because she can seem like a “delicate white or delicate Latina girl.”
Stiviano’s lawyers released a statement saying that the audio tape was part of a one hour recording, and confirmed that the voices were that of Stiviano and Sterling. They denied that she made the recording public.
On Saturday, LA Clippers President Andy Roeser said in a statement the team did not know if the tape is legitimate or has been altered. Roeser said that Donald Sterling told him that Stiviano had previously said she would “get even” for the lawsuit brought by Rochelle Sterling.
The team released a statement saying, “Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life.”
Donald Sterling has faced allegations of racial discrimination in the past. In November 2009 he agreed to pay $2.73 million to settle allegations that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and blacks and to families with children. In 2011, Sterling won a lawsuit brought by former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor over harassment and discrimination claims.
In the lawsuit filed by Rochelle Sterling, she claims that her husband began an affair with Stiviano at the 2010 Superbowl and the pair have been together since.
What Might Happen Next
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he finds the tape “disturbing and offensive” and asked Sterling to not attend the Clippers playoff game Sunday in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors.
Silver said the NBA is trying to verify the tape and that “all members of the NBA family should be afforded due process and a fair opportunity to present their side of any controversy, which is why I’m not yet prepared to discuss any potential sanctions against Donald Sterling.”
It is unclear what kind of punishment the NBA could exact on Sterling if they wanted to. Silver said he hopes to “have this wrapped up in the next few days.”
Reaction and Condemnation
President Obama: I don’t think I have to interpret those statements for you, they kind of speak for themselves. When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything. You just let them talk… I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this.
Magic Johnson: Obviously, if the reports are true, it’s unacceptable in our league. It doesn’t matter white, black, or Hispanic – all across the races it’s unacceptable. As the commissioner of our league, they have to make a stand. They have to be very aggressive with it.”
Rochelle “Shelly” Sterling: “Our family is devastated by the racist comments made by my estranged husband. My children and I do not share these despicable views or prejudices. We will not let one man’s small mindedness poison the spirit of the fans and accomplishments of the team in the city we love. We are doing everything in our power to stand by and support our Clippers team.”
The Clippers players expressed their disapproval by taking off their team jerseys during warm-ups before Sunday’s game and wore jersey’s without a team logo. They wore their regular uniforms for the game.
CarMax today ended its nine year sponsorship of the Clippers saying that Sterling’s alleged racist comments were “completely unacceptable.”
The NAACP was set to award Sterling the Lifetime Achievement Award this year, but says it will no longer do so due to the tape.
Keep up with the latest on the Donald Sterling scandal at ABCNews.com