Citing conduct detrimental to the NBA and its relationship with fans and players, the NBA on Monday started the process to force Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has already banned Sterling from the league for life after a recording was released in which he told V. Stiviano to not bring “black people” to his games.
Sterling, who has said he would not even pay the $2.5 million he was fined, has until May 27 to respond to the charge. The league’s Board of Governors have planned a hearing for June 3 to end Sterling’s ownership.
“If the NBA Board of Governors sustains the charge by a 3/4 vote, all ownership interests in the Clippers will be terminated and the team will be sold to new owners,” the league said.
The charge asserts that Sterling “engaged in conduct that has damaged and continues to damage the NBA and its teams”:
Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and “minorities”; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities.
Mr. Sterling’s actions and positions significantly undermine the NBA’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion; damage the NBA’s relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA’s relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders. Mr. Sterling engaged in other misconduct as well, including issuing a false and misleading press statement about this matter.
“All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA Constitution and related agreements,” the league said in a statement.
NBA players have suggested that they may boycott games next season if Sterling — or anyone associated with him, including his wife — still owns the team.