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."

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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.

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.

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.

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.

@Adam--yeah, that's kind of what I was gathering.  It's also somewhat like buying property in a covenanted area; the mere act of making the purchase obligates you to a bunch of terms or conditions restricting what would normally be rights of an owner.

There is no doubt in my mind that the NBA is legally entitled to do what it didn't and would be legally entitled to force the sale.  That being the case the question is whether it would be a smart move for them to do so.  Unless they are able to channel the outrage so that ONLY the Clippers franchise (and hence its owner) loses money, then yes, having thought about it some overnight, I think they ought to cut this jackass loose.  The bad news is that as GM pointed out, he will probably make a shit-ton of money off the sale.  I would prefer they find some other way to punish this guy that doesn't involve handing him, at the very very least, a hundred million bucks, but such might not exist.  Meanwhile the NBA is probably going to suffer for "not doing enough" if it doesn't force the sale.

This reminds me of situations where someone is "disciplined" by being sent home with pay for a week.  You just handed him a week of vacation he wasn't otherwise entitled to!  Good job!

Ugly situation they find themselves in.  I wonder if they will alter their organizational structure in response to lessons learned (like increase the maximum fine that can be levied against owners)?

Meanwhile, it's plain that a conversation in your own house is not "private" any more, and if you are a dirtbag racist, you can't even spout your shit there.

It's more like owning a fast-food franchise than a condo.  You have to follow the rules of the corporation or they take away your franchise.  He knew that when he bought the team, and he agreed to it.  Now he should sell the team, and consider himself lucky the league can't just strip him of the team and sell it to someone else.

I would absolutely vote to force him to sell.  While I find his comments terrible, that's not why.  As a business you have to force him to sell.  You cannot conduct a business if you employees think your racist, especially when they are 70-80% African-American.  Imagine how you would feel if you played for the Chicago Bulls and you know your owner voted to let Sterling keep his team.  Pure business


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


No.  If you respect your own right to free speech then it is necessary to respect the right of others to that same privilege. 

If I am understanding this correctly he was having a private conversation with his girlfriend not speaking in his official capacity as an NBA team owner.

I have no idea what his agreement with the NBA is nor whether or not his private conversations are a condition of his contract.

If I don't like a business owner's worldview I may not do business with him, but I have a fairly high tolerance for people who are different then myself.  I generally stay away from lynch mobs.

So if I were an NBA owner I wouldn't join the mob against another owner, because I don't want to help set that president I could be the next owner the mob goes after, I don't believe in doG that could be their reason for going after my business.


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