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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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.

I really consider this issue to be a footnote. Once Sterling's views went public, he refused to retract them and confirmed to NBA investigators that he meant them. V. Stiviano and the circumstances surrounding the recording are beside the point.

That said, I'm not quite ready to accept this version of events about Stiviano, most especially the criminal implications. Stiviano's side of the story is that Sterling knew he was being recorded, that a third party was present at the time, that she did not give the recordings to TMZ, but she has a "pretty good idea" of who did. She also claims she wasn't his mistress (which I don't believe).

What's the truth? Beats me. I suppose we'll see how well Stiviano's claims hold up once Sterling's legal team, infamous for its ferocity in court, starts to work her over. So far, I don't see much reason to think that Stiviano committed a crime, or to elevate Sterling's word (or the innuendo circulating in the media) over hers.

Yes, it's a footnote, but a crime may have been committed and like any crime should be investigated. Do you remember that, Linda Tripp, the woman who "outed" Monica Lewinsky was charged with making illegal surreptitious recordings of Monica Lewinsky?Lewinsky actually testified against her, but a judge decided that she (Lewinsky) wasn't a credible witness and the prosecution fizzled.

A lot comes down to whether we think this sort of covert recording and revealing of private conversations is something we way to let lay every time something good comes of the transgression.

Of course, if Stiviano can establish her side, the point is moot, and the government has to prove her defense wrong, as is their burden.

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

Do you believe NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's claim that the NBA lacked a sufficient legal basis to fine or suspend Sterling until now?

From the linked article in my OP:


Q. Just to be clear, you said when specific evidence was brought to the league you did act. In past cases, has Donald Sterling ever been fined or suspended for racial or offensive remarks, and if not, why not?

ADAM SILVER: He's never been suspended or fined by the league because while there have been well documented rumors and cases filed, he was sued and the plaintiff lost the lawsuit. That was Elgin Baylor. There was a case brought by the Department of Justice in which ultimately Donald Sterling settled and there was no finding of guilt, and those are the only cases that have been brought to our attention. When those two litigations were brought, they were followed closely by the league office.

Q. Just a follow to that, one of the greatest players of all time, Elgin Baylor, accused Donald Sterling of running a plantation style franchise. Did that not concern you, and why was that not investigated? Despite the fact he lost the case, he has a prominent standing in the league and he said some very serious things.

ADAM SILVER: It concerned us greatly. We followed the litigation closely, and ultimately Elgin Baylor did not prevail in that litigation.

Here's is the full audio recording:

With a girlfriend like that Don Sterling has been punished enough.  I think I'll send him a sympathy card.

For those who missed it, Stephen Colbert offered this perspective on the Donald Sterling racism scandal:

The constitutional right to free speech only says the GOVERNMENT can't prevent you from speaking your mind or punish you for it.  And even that has exceptions (try yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded movie theater). 

It says nothing about your company firing you (as long as it is done legally), your friends ostracizing you, your customers deserting you or boycotting you, or any other socioeconomic repercussions. 

And now it's looking like the Clippers are actually owned by a Trust.  Question: How do you force a Trust to sell one of it's holding?  Is it practical to try?  How much will it cost?  Who pays for it?

Mark Cuban said: "Slippery Slope" I think he's right.

The way to force the trust to sell the team is to threaten to make the team unprofitable as long as it owns it.

Aren't Trusts setup to prevent exactly that (the selling off of certain assets)?

I don't think this will stay in the news cycle for too long, I give it another 30 days before the public gets bored and moves on.

Am I missing something?  The team is a franchise under the NBA umbrella, like the KFC in my town.  If the owner(s) of the franchise breaks a serious enough corporate rule, they take away his franchise.  Without the franchise it's just 5 guys standing around in shorts.  They have nobody to play against and nowhere to play, because I imagine the arena's contract is with an NBA team which they would no longer be.

True, but if you can find the franchise agreement, we could see if there's a clause like that in there. 

He's an attorney, and even if there is a clause to enforce, he could tie them up in court for the better part of a decade. 

As Gregg said, it's hot news now, but it's gradually being crowded out by other events.


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