(CNN) — The estranged wife of suspended Clippers owner Donald Sterling said Saturday that she supports the decision by the National Basketball Association and the team to work together to find the franchise a new chief executive officer.
Shelly Sterling, a co-owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, said she spoke with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to tell him she supported his decision to fine her husband $2.5 million and hand him a lifetime suspension after racist remarks by Donald Sterling became public.
“We also agreed at that time that, as a next step, both the league and the team should work together to find some fresh, accomplished executive leadership for the Clippers,” Sterling said in a written statement.
Her statement didn’t mention the potential sale of the team, which Silver has said he will press the other 29 ownership groups to mandate through a vote.
The league said in a news release that now that Donald Sterling is banned from team operations, it is best the league step in temporarily.
“The best way to ensure the stability of the team during this difficult situation is to move quickly and install a CEO to oversee the Clippers organization,” NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass said in a statement. “The process of identifying that individual is under way.”
While the team has been distracted off the court, it has continued winning on it. The Clippers defeated the Golden State Warriors 126-121 Saturday to win its first round series in the NBA playoffs.
The Clippers will face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday in the Western Conference semifinals.
V. Stiviano speaks
After dodging the media for days, the woman who recorded Donald Sterling making racist remarks urged him to apologize.
In an exclusive with ABC’s Barbara Walters on Friday, V. Stiviano said Sterling is hurting after the scandal that turned him into a sports pariah.
“I think he feels very alone. Not truly supported by those around him,” Stiviano, 31, said. “Tormented. Emotionally traumatized.”
But, she told Walters, this is not the first time they’ve discussed race.
“There’s been a number of occasions where Mr. Sterling and I had conversations just like this one,” she said. “Part of what the world heard was only 15 minutes. There’s a number of other hours that the world doesn’t know.”
One audio of Sterling’s conversation released last month triggered a firestorm that led to his ban and league-record million fine.
In the audio, the billionaire tells Stiviano not to “promote” her relationship with black people or bring them to games after she posted a picture on social media with NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Stiviano said Sterling should apologize for the comments and has discussed it with him.
“God only knows,” she said when asked if he will apologize.
Stiviano’s attorney has said she did not leak the audio tape.
Shelly Sterling is suing Stiviano, saying the 31-year-old woman received cash and property bought with the couple’s money. Stiviano says the items were gifts.
Donald Sterling has not spoken publicly since the controversy erupted.
Donald Sterling’s fall
Other NBA owners, players and sports commentators called for swift, firm punishment after TMZ posted the audio featuring the racist comments purportedly made on April 9.
Silver, heeded their call, issuing sweeping sanctions against Donald Sterling on Tuesday.
Under the lifetime ban, Sterling is prohibited from NBA games or practices, stepping foot inside any Clippers facility, taking part in business or personnel decisions or having a role in league activities such as attending NBA Board of Governors meetings.
If Sterling does sell the team, he’d profit considerably. He bought the Clippers for $12 million in 1981, and the team is now worth $575 million, according to Forbes magazine.
By Steve Almasy
CNN’s Faith Karimi, Joe Sutton and Ralph Ellis contributed to this story.