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Vice President Joe Biden personally reached out to the NBA Players Association in the wake of Clippers owner Donald Sterling‘s racist remarks that have since gotten him banned for life from the team and the league.
Biden called NBPA chairman Kevin Johnson ahead of Tuesday’s ruling from NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Sterling, condemning the owner’s remarks and expressing his support for the players.
“Tell those players that we are standing with them. That none of us would accept the disdain and the comments that were so reprehensible by Mr. Sterling,” Johnson said Biden told him on Wednesday’s CBS This Morning.
President Obama earlier this week condemned Sterling’s remarks, and Johnson felt such support was significant.
“When you have the president and the vice president and the White House standing with these players in this league, that is a testament to what sports can do,” Johnson added on CBS. “Sports brings people together. It allows us to talk about real issues, and again I think our players did a superb job.”
Johnson, who previously said the players wanted Sterling punished to the maximum extent possible, said Silver’s ruling of a lifetime ban and forcing the NBA to sell the team are exactly what the players wanted.
The Sacramento mayor added that he believes the NBA owners will support the commissioner’s decision and that while it’s expected that Donald Sterling will sue and fight the NBA’s decision, Johnson would instead apologize and try to make amends.
“I think if I was Mr. Sterling and I was the one giving him advice, the first thing I would do if I was him is I would apologize, then I would say I embrace these sanctions, then I would say I’m going to spend the rest of my life proving I’m not a racist, despite what you heard on tape,” he said.
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