Nightly News   |  April 28, 2014

Sterling Controversy: Players Call on NBA to Take Action

There’s new pressure now on the NBA after LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was accused of making an explosive, racial rant.

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>>> new fallout tonight for the owner of the one of the nba franchises here in southern california , the los angeles clippers after an explosive audiotape surfaced reportedly of team owner and real estate owner donald sterling going on a racist tirade during a conversation with his one-time girlfriend. tonight, several big sponsors are abandoning the clippers and pressure building on the league to take action. joe fryer is at the staple's center across town here in la where the clipper wills play in a play-off game tomorrow night. good evening.

>> reporter: good evening. hours before that game tomorrow, the nba will make an announcement about its investigation into donald sterling . right now it's unclear what, if any, action the league will take. in the play-offs, nba fans are asking to take swift action against sterling, the la clippers owner accused of making racist remarks.

>> they need to erase him from the clippers and say this man will not be part of the team. they need to suspend him immediately and indefinitely.

>> reporter: usc law professor jody armor say it's complicated.

>> they don't want to establish a president where the commissioner has the power to suspend them for something they said in private.

>> reporter: two websites posted audio recordings , which they say are conversations between sterling and then girlfriend. the recordings have not been verified by nbc news.

>> yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that you're associating with black people . do you have to?

>> reporter: according to tmz, sterling was upset she posted this picture posing with magic johnson who in the wake of this controversy expressed interest in buying the clippers. today companies are ending or suspending sponsorships with the team. carmax called the statements completely unacceptable. kia motors say they are offensive and reprehensible.

>> i think it has the potential to hurt the nba 's image. i hope they react quickly and indecisively in dealing with this.

>> reporter: president obama weighed in from asia.

>> when ignoreant folks want to advertise ignorance, you don't do anything but let them talk.

>> reporter: clippers' players made a silent statement, revealing shirts inside out hiding the team logo.

>> from that point on,how could your mind be on the game?

>> reporter: in a statement, the clipper's president said it's not clear if the recordings are legitimate or authored. sterling was about to receive a life-time achievement award from la's naacp for his charitable contributions. that won't happen now.

>> there is a personal economic and social price that mr. sterling must pay.

>> reporter: tomorrow the clippers will host the golden state warriors . they play-off series tied at two games a piece. some clipper's fans are calling for a boycott of that game. brian?

>> joe fryer over at the staples center tonight. joe , thanks.