The tape recorded a man's voice, which the NBA said today is that of Sterling, telling Stiviano not to post pictures of herself with black men to Instagram or bring black men to Clippers games. One of the men mentioned is Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
"The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful. That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage," said Silver. "Sentiments of this kind are contrary to principles of inclusion and respect that inform our diverse, multicultural and multi-ethnic league."
Silver mentioned the league's role as a pioneer in diversity and acknowledged famous black players including Johnson.
When asked about past allegations of racial discrimination by Sterling, including two prior lawsuits, Silver said that the NBA was acting now because they had concrete evidence.
Sterling settled a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department in 2009 for housing discrimination; in 2011, Sterling won a lawsuit brought by former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor over harassment and discrimination claims.
"Those are the only cases brought to our attention," Silver said. "When that [Baylor] litigation was brought it was watched closely by the league office. It concerned us greatly and we followed the litigation closely, but ultimately Elgin Baylor did not prevail in that litigation."
Silver said that he had been in discussions with Kevin Johnson, head of the National Basketball Players Association, and that the players would be supportive of the punishment.