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Late Night Roundup: Getting Your Story Right On Iraq

The Daily Show took a look at the massive media frenzy surrounding the Brian Williams controversy — and that at least somebody is finally being held accountable for lying about the Iraq War.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted another expert on journalism, who actually spoke sympathetically about Brian Williams and the flaws of an embellished memory: Bill O’Reilly. Hmm, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.

Conan O’Brien lambasted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson for planning a new late night show on the National Geographic channel — and Tyson himself showed up to steal away both co-hosts Andy Richter and the Moon away from Conan.

David Letterman hosted NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and discussed last year’s racial controversies surrounding former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and other political challenges that have faced the league since.

With the movie of Fifty Shades of Grey about to come out, the good folks at Late Night with Seth Meyers had men on the street in New York read excerpts of the book out loud. (Note: Most definitely not safe for work!!!)

Decisive Punishment For Donald Sterling Draws Praise From NBA Community

By Steve Popper, The Record (Hackensack, NJ)

NEW YORK — Just days after an audio recording surfaced with Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling speaking in racially charged language, the NBA moved swiftly and forcefully in handing down its punishment: a lifetime ban, a $2.5 million fine and an urging for the Board of Governors to force a sale of the team.

The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver, less than three months on the job, could not say if Sterling will accept challenge the ruling, but Silver said he believes he has the authority and support among ownership to force out the longest-tenured owner in the league.

In front of a huge throng of media at the New York Hilton, Silver announced a decision that landed directly at what many around the league hoped for — from his fellow owners who spoke out that it was time for Sterling to leave the exclusive club that he has been a member of for 33 years, to prominent players such as LeBron James.

The announcement of the punishment was met with near-universal approval.

“The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sunday is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling,” Silver said. “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.

“Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league. I am personally distraught that the views expressed by Mr. Sterling came from within an institution that has historically taken such a leadership role in matters of race relations and caused current and former players, coaches, fans and partners of the NBA to question their very association with the league.”

Sterling, who has a long history of controversial actions — racial discrimination charges settled out of court twice in the last decade and accusations of racism by former longtime general manager Elgin Baylor — was hammered by the league when the words this time were on tape and played on a viral loop around the world.

The speedy investigation conducted by the league focused primarily on whether it was the 80-year-old Sterling’s voice on the tapes, which were recorded by his former girlfriend, V. Stiviano, 31. While the conversation was a private one, Silver said, “Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public, and they represent his views.”

Silver was asked if the prior claims of racial discrimination weighed in the decision, and he said that they did not — but that the entirety of Sterling’s actions will be considered in a vote of owners to force a sale.

Silver needs a three-quarters vote of ownership to force Sterling to give up his ownership, according to league by-laws, and the commissioner said he believes he has the support needed.

“I agree 100 percent with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted after the announcement was made. Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander openly called for Silver to push Sterling out of the league in an interview with the Houston Chronicle on Monday.

“I have been in touch with the NBA and fully support Commissioner Silver’s decision,” Knicks owner James Dolan said. “I applaud Adam for acting quickly and decisively in appropriately addressing these disgusting and offensive comments. This kind of behavior has no place in basketball or anywhere else, and we as a league must stand together in condemning this ignorance.”

Charlotte Bobcats chairman Michael Jordan echoed that sentiment in a statement, adding, “I applaud NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s swift and decisive response today. He sent a powerful message that there can be zero tolerance for racism and hatred in the NBA. I’m confident that the league, our players and our fans will move on from this stronger and more unified.”

But even if Silver can gather the necessary votes, something he likely knew before meting out the decision, he could face a legal challenge from Sterling. Silver said he has not heard yet from the team owner as to whether he would agree to the terms or battle them.

“I did not speak directly to his representatives about this ban,” Silver said. “They were informed shortly before this press conference. I did not hear precisely what their reaction was.”

The swift reaction from the league — ahead the Clippers’ Game 5 of their first-round playoff series — started to soften the furor that arose in the wake of the tape’s appearance. Almost all of the Clippers’ sponsors dropped out Monday — either canceling or suspending their support of the franchise — and voices rose from those of players to that of President Obama.

“I would say those marketing partners of the Clippers and partners of the entire NBA should judge us by our response to this incident,” Silver said. “And I think we’ve responded appropriately, and I would be hopeful that they would return into their business relationships with the Clippers.”

Most important, Silver was able to ease the minds of players, from the Clippers, who were being urged in some corners not to play the game, to those around the league who were joining silent protests in shows of unity.

“Today the players believe the commissioner has done his duty,” Kevin Johnson, the former NBA guard who now the mayor of is Sacramento, California, and is assisting the NBA Players Association, said speaking on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall as he was surrounded by current and former players. “On this day, Adam Silver is not only the owners’ commissioner, he is the players’ commissioner.”

AFP Photo/Streeter Lecka

Music Titan David Geffen Interested In Buying Clippers

By Jim Peltz, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES—Music and film mogul David Geffen is interested in buying the Los Angeles Clippers if NBA Commissioner Adam Silver succeeds in persuading other NBA owners to force a sale of the team, Geffen’s office said Tuesday.

“If the Clippers become available he would be interested in buying the franchise,” his office said via e-mail, adding that Geffen was not available to elaborate.

Geffen, with a net worth that Forbes estimates at $6.2 billion, reportedly tried to buy at least a controlling stake in the Clippers in 2010 but was rebuffed by owner Donald Sterling.

Silver, responding to controversial remarks about blacks purportedly made by Sterling, issued sweeping sanctions against the owner Tuesday. Sterling was banned from any association with the team for life and fined $2.5 million.

Silver also said he would urge the league’s other owners to force a sale of the team.

Another billionaire, real estate developer Rick Caruso, told the Los Angeles. Times on Monday that he also would be interested in leading or joining a new ownership group for the Clippers.

Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12 million, but the club is now worth at least $575 million and is the league’s 13th most valuable franchise, according to Forbes’ annual list of NBA team valuations.

AFP Photo

NBA Players, City Leaders Cheer Sanctions Against Donald Sterling

By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — City leaders and current and former NBA players on Tuesday hailed the basketball league’s decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million for racial comments caught on tape and made public late last week.

“Today, we feel like justice has begun to be served,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who had publicly supported a change in ownership. Standing on the steps of City Hall, Garcetti thanked NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for “bringing down the hammer” on Sterling.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA player and representative of the National Basketball Players Association, also praised the action, saying it delivered “a statement about where we are as a country.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional basketball player, or a man or a woman who works hard for your family, there will be zero tolerance for institutional racism, no matter how rich or powerful” someone is, he said.

The celebrity website TMZ posted an audio recording Friday that purports to capture Sterling telling a woman identified as V. Stiviano that “it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.” The man and woman on the recording argue about a photo posted on Instagram showing her with Magic Johnson.

At a news conference, Silver told reporters that Sterling had acknowledged it was him in the recording. The commissioner said he reached his decision on the lifetime ban and other measures Tuesday morning, the day after the NBA’s investigation had been completed.

In addition to the fine and lifetime ban, Silver also said he would pursue a forced sale of the Clippers — an action that would require backing from three-fourths of NBA ownership groups.

“I fully expect to get the support I need” to force a sale, he said.

Outside City Hall, Johnson and other current and former players, including Los Angeles Lakers star Steve Nash, said they were pleased with the punishment and looked forward to the NBA following through with the measures.

“If you see cancer, you’ve got to cut it out real quickly,” Johnson said. “And Commissioner Silver did that in real time.”

It was unclear how Silver’s announcement would affect a planned anti-racism demonstration outside Staples Center before Tuesday evening’s Clippers game, but Garcetti that the NBA executive’s action was something the entire city could rally around.

“We may be a two-team town, but today, we are behind one team,” he said.

Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/MCT