New York: Richard Parsons, the former chairman of media giant Time Warner and Citigroup, was named Friday as the interim chief executive of the Los Angeles Clippers following a racism firestorm.
The move by the NBA came in the wake of the life ban imposed upon Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist remarks revealed two weeks ago by celebrity watchdog website TMZ.
"I believe the hiring of Dick Parsons will bring extraordinary leadership and immediate stability to the Clippers organization," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.
Sterling, who told his girlfriend he did not want her to bring black people to Clippers games or post photos of herself with black people on social media, was banned for life by Silver, who has started the process of having other club owners remove Sterling as owner of the Clippers.
Clippers president Andy Roeser, who has been with the NBA club since 1984, had been guiding day-to-day activities of the club since the scandal erupted.
But Roeser upset some with a press release supporting Sterling in the first hours after the controversy began. On Tuesday, Roeser took an indefinite leave of absence, setting the stage for the league-appointed caretaker to handle operations for the team indefinitely.
In a recording released Friday by RadarOnline that is purportedly of Sterling, the 80-year-old real estate tycoon says he only made the racial comments to his 31-year-old assistant, V. Stiviano, because he was trying to seduce her into having sex with him.
NBA owners are expected to push to remove Sterling as owner before the end of the month, but Sterling could launch a court battle rather than sell or lose a team worth more than $600 million.
Parsons, now a senior advisor at Providence Equity Partners, was on US President Barack Obama`s economic advisory team and also sits on the board of directors for the Commission on Presidential Debates.
"Dick`s credentials as a proven chief executive speak for themselves and I am extremely grateful he accepted this responsibility," Silver said.
Parsons, who once played basketball for the University of Hawaii, said he has been a life-long NBA fan who was upset at Sterling`s words.
"Like most Americans, I have been deeply troubled by the pain the Clippers` team, fans and partners have endured," Parsons said.
"As a life-long fan of the NBA, I am firmly committed to the values and principles it is defending and I completely support Adam`s leadership in navigating the challenges facing the team and the league."
The Clippers shook off the distraction of the racism controversy to defeat Golden State in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Now coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers` squad is playing against Oklahoma City in the second round for a berth in the Western Conference final.
"The Clippers are a resilient organization with a brilliant coach and equally talented and dedicated athletes and staff who have demonstrated great strength of character during a time of adversity," Parsons said.Sterling`s latest recording was revealed a day after the same website released a portion of the same conversation where the embattled team owner declares "I am not a racist," and indicates he does not believe the NBA has grounds to remove the team from him.
The latest recorded Sterling comments to be made public delve into his rationale for the racist remarks.
"The girl is black. I like her. I`m jealous that she`s with other black guys. I want her. So what the hell? Can`t I, in private, tell her, `I don`t want you to be with anybody?`"
Silver said in punishing Sterling that private remarks being made public does not excuse the overt racism in the original comments.
"So they should take away for life your team (if) you say the wrong thing to a girl?" said Sterling. "I know what I said was wrong but I never thought the private conversation would go anywhere, out to the public."
An attorney for Sterling`s estranged wife Shelly, a part-owner of the Clippers, says she wants to retain a share of the club, though not necessarily a controling interest.
Rivers said her having an ownership role would be "hard" and many would have a problem with that, seeing her as a figurehead for her husband.