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The NBA announced on Tuesday that Los Angeles Clippers president Andy Roeser is taking an indefinite leave of absence. The leave of absence is effective immediately.
According to Fox Sports, Roeser has been with the Clippers since 1984 and has been the team’s president since 1986. He is one of the NBA’s longest-tenured executives. This season was his 30th year with the Clippers. Roeser had just taken over day-to-day operations of the team after owner Donald Sterling was punished for racist comments last week.
"We have heard the tape on TMZ," Roeser said in a news release. "We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. We do know that the woman on the tape is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would 'get even.' 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. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him -- both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter."
Last week Sterling was banned from the NBA for life for his racist comments. He was also fined $2.5 million. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is urging owners to force Sterling to sell the Clippers. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement that Roeser’s absence "will provide an opportunity for a new CEO to begin on a clean slate and for the team to stabilize under difficult circumstances,” the Associated Press notes. The NBA is working with the Clippers to appoint a new CEO.
The Clippers lead the Western Conference semifinals 1-0 over the Oklahoma City Thunder.