Franchise Voices Support, But Russian Billionaire's Silence Has Been Noticed

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Judging from the owners’ fairly overwhelming public response to Tuesday’s decision to ban Donald Sterling for life for his racist comments, it looks like NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will have plenty of support on his quest to boot the disgraced face of the Los Angeles Clippers from the elite club of privilege that is league ownership.

It should be assumed that Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is on board, too, right?

Prokhorov was one of two league owners — along with Orlando’s Rich DeVos — to not comment publicly on Sterling’s ban, the Daily News reported Tuesday.

The other owners, including the Knicks’ James Dolan and Dallas’ Mark Cuban, chimed in through written statements, comments in the media or on Twitter.

Like the Magic, the Nets as an organization came out in support of Silver’s decision, issuing a statement that almost certainly had to require ownership approval.

“Today’s announcement by Commissioner Silver sends a strong message that racism and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated in the NBA family,” read the Nets’ statement.

Prokhorov, the billionaire Russian businessman who bought the franchise back in 2010, declined to talk about the Sterling scandal prior to Game 4 of the Nets’ playoff series against Toronto on Sunday, and his spokesperson did not respond to an email on Tuesday night, the Daily News reported.

Despite his silence on Sterling being odd, Prokhorov, as a politician in Russia, is a noted supporter of human rights.

He’s also an extremely busy man.

Back in late March, Prokhorov said he was moving ahead with plans to transfer the Nets’ ownership company to Russia.

He announced last year that he wanted to shift control of the team to a Russian-based company after the Kremlin passed a law regulating foreign holdings for public officials.

However, the move would also be in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent call for billionaires to register their businessesicon1 Nets Prokhorov 1 Of Only 2 NBA Owners To Not Speak Publicly On Sterling Ruling at home in the wake of U.S. sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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