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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Replies to This Discussion're right unseen...I should have worded this more carefully. The conversation was not solely about personal feelings and opinions of a general nature. It was clearly linked to the NBA and included specific requests about another persons conduct at an NBA event...a rather racist and outright discriminatory request at that.

Where is the line? If he was telling her not to invite any blacks to a birthday party at his house, is that also cause to be fired?

I have seen many comedians who's entire routines taken in any other context would be considered extreme racism. It seems context, morality of the day and even interpretation are important factors in the evaluation of discrimination versus our "unalienable" right of free speech. Is that the way it should be?

What's sort of funny is that he is banned for life...he's 80...well they say only the good die young.

If the party at the house is an NBA event or sufficiently linked to the NBA then yes that would be cause to be fired.

What's funnier is that if he's forced to sell the company, he'll be taking a giant profit.

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?

The legality of recorded conversation depends on which state you live in. I think it should be legal to record any conversation that I'm a party to, secretly or not. But this is beside the point, Robert.

Whether you volunteer the information or not, or were recorded or not, you can't be fired (not legally anyway) for expressing dislike for hanging with Christians.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 "does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious" but it does protect you from "discrimination if [you] do not subscribe to a particular religious view and/or are atheist". (Source: US Dept. of Labor)

Of course, your boss could fire you and lie about the reasons, despite that it's illegal to fire you for atheism or for not following a particular religion. You can also be fired for atheism (or non-Christian beliefs) if you work at a business with fewer than 15 employees or for a religious organization.

Firing atheists and those who offhandedly express dislike for hanging with Christians is (mostly) illegal already.

There is a balance that must be negotiated carefully here.

I really don't get this. How could opposing Sterling's discrimination against black people worsen discrimination against atheists (or non-Christians)?

I oppose discrimination against atheists as I oppose discrimination against blacks, LGBT, women, the elderly, and other social groups. If there's a delicate balance here, I'm not seeing it.

I really don't get this. How could opposing Sterling's discrimination against black people worsen discrimination against atheists (or non-Christians)?

I oppose discrimination against atheists as I oppose discrimination against blacks, LGBT, women, the elderly, and other social groups. If there's a delicate balance here, I'm not seeing it.

It's the right to not be discriminated against versus the right to have and voice an opinion, no matter how stupid. And trust me, an atheist probably seems pretty stupid to a know it all xtian.

Face it, we trash (discriminate against?) theists all the time here. Some of us may even be at work when we do it. ;)

It's the right to not be discriminated against versus the right to have and voice an opinion, no matter how stupid.

Nothing is stopping Donald Sterling from having and voicing his opinion. Freedom of expression does not also confer the right to avoid the consequences of expressing discriminatory views that oppress others.

And trust me, an atheist probably seems pretty stupid to a know it all xtian. Face it, we trash (discriminate against?) theists all the time here.

Discrimination is the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people. The operational word is 'unfair', meaning dishonest or unjust. These qualities describe racism and some Christian beliefs, but not criticism of and opposition to them for valid reasons.

Some of us may even be at work when we do it. ;)

The workplace has a different set of rules. If Christian trashes atheist or atheist trashes Christian to the point where it creates a "hostile environment" it's considered to be a form of oppression. That's where the law draws the line.

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.

Read the transcript, Gregg. Sterling stated to the NBA, on the record during an official investigation, that the racially hateful views expressed in the recording were his own. Sterling had every opportunity to disavow and express regret. He didn't.


ADAM SILVER: Shortly after the release of an audio recording this past Saturday morning of a conversation that allegedly included Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the NBA commenced an investigation, which among other things, included an interview of Mr. Sterling. That investigation is now complete. The central findings of the investigation are that the man whose voice is heard on the recording and on a second recording from the same conversation that was released on Sunday is Mr. Sterling and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling.

Q. In your conversations with Sterling, did he own up to this immediately? Was it only after you guys had come up with some sort of proof? And what, if anything, has he expressed approaching remorse, regret, anything? What's his sentiment at this point?

ADAM SILVER: Mr. Sterling acknowledged it was his voice on the tape, and he has not expressed to me directly any other views.

Q. Should someone lose their team for remarks shared in private as this is a slippery slope?

ADAM SILVER: Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public, and they represent his views.

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. 

This resembles a classic 'false equivalence' canard that opposition to those who discriminate against a minority group is discrimination against the oppressor.

Crackpot: Sign my petition to ban Blacks, Jews and gays from my restaurant?
Me: You're a racist, antisemitic, homophobic pig. I'll never eat here again.
Crackpot: You are SO discriminating against me! Tolerate my views, hypocrite!

This kind of thing is pretty standard. For instance, anti-LGBT hate monger Orson Scott Card released a similar statement on the pending (and subsequently successful) boycott of his movie Ender's Game last year: "Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute."

In other words, you are a bigot unless you tolerate bigotry; you are intolerant unless you tolerate intolerance. The fallacy is obvious but it never stops the bigots from trotting this one out.

I generally stay away from lynch mobs. So if I were an NBA owner I wouldn't join the mob against another owner,

Exactly, Gregg. Making a rich man sell a basketball team for $1 billion under a lawful agreement is like torturing and killing him without a trial. Thanks for offering this very fair-minded metaphor, which casts Donald Sterling as a helpless victim about to lose everything in a gross miscarriage of justice.

 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.

That's a slippery slope fallacy and a rather outlandish one. Opposition to discrimination against blacks could somehow promote discrimination against atheists? Even if it were true, it wouldn't matter. I don't believe we can make society less discriminatory by refusing to oppose discrimination, especially over fear that we could be next.

Dear Galloping Shiny Glass,

    You go girl!

Don Sterling may not be up to your standards (I doubt anyone is) however he does employ people with a skin color darker then his own at a much higher rate then the average worker in America, so he ain't all bad. :)

Are you going after Jesse Jackson next?  He heard somebody taped him saying something negative about Jews.

Good luck with your next witch hunt, I feel sure it will bring you much pleasure.

PS. This one had me laughing

"That's a slippery slope fallacy and a rather outlandish one."

especially the outlandish part. :)

I will try and make my opinions match yours in the future (not). :D

You can bet his agreement with the NBA has some clause like "public behavior befitting and becoming an NBA owner" or "impropriety or the appearance of impropriety" - something that covers situations like this but that is worded vaguely enough so that they could either enforce it or not.  In this case they choose to enforce it because it could directly affect their bottom line.

Btw, not all speech is free.  Anyone can say what they want, but actions have consequences.  He can say whatever hateful racist crap he wants, but if he offends the larger part of his fan/customer base and they stop buying tickets to the games or team jerseys, etc...not a good business decision.  Other team owners are afraid their pockets will suffer if they don't condemn Sterling's actions.

Freedom of speech only shelters the public from the Federal Government exerting unwarranted control over public discourse.Warranted control would be instances like the famous "Yelling fire in a crowded theater" type of situation.

Thus, if an employer says that any employee who sends a customer to the competition is fired, the employer isn't barred from doing so based on The First Amendment. The employer may be open to civil action, though.

We like finding out what a shit Donald Sterling is, but let's not forget that his girlfriend is a shit, too. It's illegal to secretly record private conversations in California (it's a so-called 2-party state, where the person being recorded must also be aware of the recording).

I'm sure most of us are concerned about all the covert and less-than-obvious intrusions into privacy we're subjected to nowadays. Does this not include others secretly recording private conversations?

Sterling's racial attitudes were known long before this incident and the NBA is only acting on this incident because it became so public.


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