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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@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

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

That's interesting, Gary.

My first thought was that the NBA owners will probably vote in secret. But that might make things worse. Every player on every team, and every fan of every team, would be left in doubt of where the team's ownership stands on racism in professional sports (unless the vote is 29-0 in favor of forcing the sale).

My guess is the vote will be public and the vote will be 29-0 to force a sale of the Clippers.


"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 you respect your own right to free speech then it is necessary to respect the right of others to that same privilege.

My own first amendment right to free speech means the government cannot infringe on my individual right to speak freely. I respect that Donald Sterling has exactly the same right to say anything he wants without government interference.

Donald Sterling, however, has no right say anything he wants and then be protected from the consequences of public opinion and a private business agreement with the NBA (which he entered of his own free will).

Making Sterling sell the Clippers for being a racist does not violate his free speech rights.

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.

This is a valid concern. It seems odd that we have to be concerned for the rights of a racist (or for some an atheist), but we do. I do think forcing people be politically correct in the business world is a mechanism that helps free the newer generations from indoctrination to a racist world view, However I am also concerned that big brother will eventually convict us of thought crime.

Robert this is more than political correctness. He told someone not to invite or be seen with a black person at an NBA event. This is outright discrimination...not just a personal opinion. Any company would rightly fire a guy who was caught saying this for many reasons and rightly so.

If I mentioned to a coworker that I don't like to hang around Christians and my conversation was recorded without my consent, should I be fired? Did I break a law?

There is a balance that must be negotiated carefully here.






We aren't talking about a private conversation on personal feelings. It was clearly related to NBA events. He told his girlfriend not to invite or be seen with non white people at games.

If your boss caught you on tape (recorded in the office or at home) asking employees under you not to bring christians with them to the company BBQ then you can certainly be fired. If it's a large company and the tape is leaked to the media ... I can't imagine one not being fired for it. If throughout the whole process you made no effort to retract the statement then the boss would be crazy not to fire you.

A private conversation is defined by its privacy, not its subject matter. It was also between Sterling and the girlfriend (ex? mistress?), not in the context of company business.


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