Donald Sterling banned from NBA: would you vote to force him to sell the Clippers?

Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA, has just banned Clippers team owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for life. Now the other 29 team owners in the NBA would have to muster a two-thirds majority vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers (possibly to Magic Johnson).

If you were an NBA owner, would you vote to force Donald Sterling, an admitted racist, to sell the Clippers?


Adam Silver, Commissioner of the NBA:

"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.

"To them, and pioneers of the game like Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, Sweetwater Clifton, the great Bill Russell, and particularly Magic Johnson, I apologize. Accordingly, effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA. Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.

"I am also fining Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution. These funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its Players Association.

"As for Mr. Sterling's ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens."

Tags: Clippers, Donald, Johnson, Magic, NBA, Sterling, ban, racism

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No, I would not. I'd just make the environment such that he would feel compelled to choose to sell on his own.

The difference being you'd rather vote with your wallet, rather than fill out a ballot? I would have no problem forcing him to sell. It's the equivalent of kicking him out of the club. He can't take his team with him, as the team is part of the NBA, and he doesn't have the appropriate disposition to be what a team owner in the NBA is: an entertainment provider. Entertainment providers are (either formally or informally) bound by the First Amendment, and that does not protect hate speech. Also, as an entertainment provider in an organization, he has no right to bar anyone from a game on any reason except on the basis of possession of a paid for ticket.

You break the rules, you are asked to leave.

ps... If you would like, I'll elaborate on any point after I'm sober. It was a "day" at work today.

But...he was recorded in his own home without his knowledge or consent. 

The recording was made in a state with one-party consent recording law, so there was nothing criminal about it. Once these incredibly racist and damaging remarks went public, I don't see why Sterling's intent to keep them under wraps should be a factor, especially considering he's stood by them and made no apology.

With that being said...I don't think this should be used against him. Seriously? Force someone to sell off an asset (a huge money making machine) due to their personal beliefs?!  Fuck that, no.  

You say that like it's outrageous, as though Sterling's hateful discrimination against racial minorities deserves our respect because he believes it personally, or because he's rich.

None of us want our personal beliefs held against us in a negative way.  I mean right?

I don't want personal beliefs held against someone unjustly, dishonestly or unfairly. If you are discriminating against black people, you are doing exactly that, and yes I'm going to hold that against you. Likewise, if you have personal beliefs involving suicide attacks on train stations or making my kids jabber prayers in public school, yes, I'll hold that against you in a negative way.

Next they could start discriminating against by religion...or lack thereof. 

That's a slippery slope fallacy. I would firmly oppose any effort to force Sterling to sell his team because he is Jewish or irreligious, but since that's not an issue and likely never will be in the NBA, this is unsubstantiated conjecture. 

I know that there is some cultural pressure to stamp out racism and all forms of discrimination, but sometimes I think people need to grow up and get over their hurt feelings. With that being said...racism is bad, imho.

You nailed it all down right there. Don't blame the racist. Blame the cultural pressure to stamp out his racism. Blame immature black people and their hurt feelings. They need to get over it.


I'm just not convinced that this guy's bigotry is really affecting the NBA in a negative way.  I mean, come on.  It has had players, coaches, and the reffing staff who allegedly commit rape, murder, fix games, act hurt, get ejected from games, and carry firearms everywhere, so, I don't think this guy and his comments are going be make a difference either way.

You mean, aside from an NBA players boycott, the multi-million dollar losses as sponsors run for cover, and the ire of every other team owner in the NBA. Otherwise, yeah. There's no convincing signs Sterling's comments are effecting the NBA negatively or making a difference either way.

I want to know...who would profit from the team being sold? *shifty eyes*

Overall, Donald Sterling would profit the most. He bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million and could probably sell them now for about $1 billion

Basically, I agree with this: Think he hits it right on the head.

Abdul-Jabbar said we didn't get outraged enough at Sterling's racism. You said Sterling's racism should not be held against him. You said we're blowing Sterling's racism out of proportion.

You don't agree with Abdul-Jabbar. You disagree with him diametrically. Abdul-Jabbar may have hit the nail on the head, but you've whacked your thumb twice.

“So, if we’re all going to be outraged,” the former NBA star wrapped up, “let’s be outraged that we weren’t more outraged when his racism was first evident.

Otherwise, Abdul-Jabbar expressed outrage that private conversations may be recorded and made public, which is beside the point...

"Let’s be outraged that private conversations between people in an intimate relationship are recorded and publicly played."

...and outrage that Sterling's gold-digging ex-girlfriend may exploit the fame she gained as a result of exposing his racism, which is also beside the point...

Let’s be outraged that whoever did the betraying will probably get a book deal, a sitcom, trade recipes with Hoda and Kathie Lee, and soon appear on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ and ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”

...which is that Sterling is a horribly racist part-owner of the NBA, the most predominantly black professional sport in the United States and Canada. The question is whether or not you, as one of the 29 other owners, would accept Sterling as a member of your little NBA owner's club, or kick him out.

You've already answered. You stuck by your answer when challenged. You would let Sterling stay in the NBA owner's club. You say everyone else should just get over this.

Thanks for responding.

You're welcome, but please don't tell me what I do and don't think.

I didn't tell you what you think. You told me what you think. You were rather specific.

Especially since I've reevaluated and adjusted to further information that was released.

If you did any "reevaluation" in your thinking, you kept it to yourself.

You said Sterling's racism should not be held against him. You said we are blowing Sterling's racism out of proportion. You said Sterling's racist comments are unimportant. You said you oppose forcing Sterling to sell.

You posted no words to the effect that you were adjusting those pronouncements. So that's the way you left it: no consequences for Sterling, everyone is overreacting.

I had a pretty bad day yesterday (as I mentioned before if you recall)...

Yes, it's common knowledge that having a bad day makes people sympathize with wealthy and powerful racists, while bemoaning the immature black people who can't get over their hurt feelings.

...but there is more going on then this instance of racism.

And thus begins your effort to divert us from the relevant points above...

As was said in that article, he has been this way forever, why would people pretend to care now? your little nugget of disinformation here.

Nobody in the article you posted said "people pretend to care". The article author, Scott Aberdeen, did not remotely suggest this. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the author of the original article on which Aberdeen commented, said absolutely nothing of the kind.

Abdul-Jabbar questioned the reasons why the NBA did not act sooner on Sterling. See the sourced link in my original post for the NBA commissioner's explanation as to why the NBA took no action on Sterling until now. (In short: the NBA says it couldn't.)

You can disagree with what the NBA did (or didn't do) in the past, but don't imply the NBA should do nothing here too, just for the sake of consistency. Sterling is history. That his departure is overdue doesn't make it any less fitting or welcome.

They care because our society wants them to care, obviously they didn't care before and they only care now because his beliefs have made him a liability, and his money can't overcome it. It's complete bs.

This seems rather ironic considering you opened this post by (falsely) moaning at me for telling you what you think.

On what basis do claim to know that the NBA didn't care about Sterling's racism before? The NBA wrote the standards for personal conduct into the league bylaws long before this scandal broke. Without those standards the NBA would be powerless to ban Sterling or force a sale of the Clippers. That doesn't sound like an NBA that didn't care about racism before.

Besides, even if what you say is true, and the NBA ownership only cares about Sterling's racial hatred because "our society wants them to care", how is that "complete bullshit"? Where is the incongruity in that?

Do you not think a society should oppose racism and discrimination? You not think a society should apply pressure to wealthy interests (like a professional sports league and its sponsors) as part of that opposition?

Where exactly is the "complete bullshit" in this picture? Be specific.

EDIT: I should say though, I haven't changed my mind about forcing him to sell. It would be bad, mmmkay. In my opinion.

What's "bad" about the other owners forcing Sterling to sell? In what way would it be "bad"? Who would it be "bad" for? Be specific.

The commissioner is doing exactly what any leader would do. If the vice president of a company was caught on tape telling a friend not to bring black people to a corporate event he would be booted off the board or fired. If a cabinet minister was caught on tape telling a friend not to bring a black person to visit parliament the prime minister would kick him out of cabinet if not out of the party. If an admin on wikipedia told a fellow admin not to nominate black editors for admin or invite them to wikipedia events then you can be sure Jimbo Wales would boot him off the wiki in a flash.

The commissioner was right to do what he did just as any leader of any organization would. Regardless of how his comments were recorded...he was telling someone to not invite or be seen with black people at an NBA event. Someone like that has no place managing a public or social organization in an open society.

This is a no brainer Black Dawn.

I am scratching my head on this one.  It looks like he's banned from having anything to do with his own property, based on what the commissioner said.  For instance he's not allowed to set foot in the Clippers' facilities. What kind of ownership bans you from your own property?  I find it hard to characterize this sort of relationship as "ownership" at all.

Though I guess he's allowed to pocket whatever profit they make (after taxes of course).

To (not really) answer the actual question, I am not sure how I would feel about a forced sale, even once I understand the mechanics of what's going on.

I am scratching my head on this one.  It looks like he's banned from having anything to do with his own property, based on what the commissioner said.  For instance he's not allowed to set foot in the Clippers' facilities. What kind of ownership bans you from your own property?  I find it hard to characterize this sort of relationship as "ownership" at all.

NBA ownership has lots of strings attached, sort of like buying a condo. There are all sorts of bylaws that you agree to follow when you buy a team in the NBA. The NBA has standards which include personal conduct, the judgment of which are entirely up to the commish and the NBA.

I don't think Sterling owns the Staples Center, which is the home of the Clippers, so a ban from there isn't really a ban from his own property.

Though I guess he's allowed to pocket whatever profit they make (after taxes of course). To (not really) answer the actual question, I am not sure how I would feel about a forced sale, even once I understand the mechanics of what's going on.

The NBA is a club of millionaire and billionaire team owners. I think the primary concern is that having a racist pig tracking filth around the clubhouse is bad for NBA public relations. Profits will suffer.

But I do think there's also a less cynical aspect. A team to some degree represents the city that hosts it. The NBA players are 78% black, 17% white, 4% Latinos, and 1% Asians, making basketball by far the most predominantly black professional sport in North America.

The NBA has said for decades that it's committed to upholding racial diversity and positive race relations. I think there's at least some truth to this and that the NBA is trying to be socially responsible and racially sensitive. They knew the nation was watching and that the NBA would pay a price beyond money if they responded dismissively to this kind of racism.

GM, these empty posts of yours are becoming habitual.

I learn more from his posts in terms of content and forms of rational argument than from any other user.

Thank you, Davis. Keep rocking in the free world that is Belgium.

I think Unseen meant his comment literally. I have problems where some of my posts initially appear as a single blank line. This happens because the editor tool occasionally inserts extra, unwanted code in the HTML for some reason. I have to delete this extra junk to make the post show up and look right.

I usually check the code before I hit the 'Add Reply' button, but sometimes I forget. Thanks for pointing this out, Unseen.

From what I understand, NBA owners like others, are franchisee, meaning that the LA Clippers are still a product of the NBA. Therefore under the NBA Bylaws, the owner can be banned from the facility as it is still part of the collective ownership of the NBA.


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