Silver has strong support, but removing Sterling won’t be easy

By David Aldridge, TNT

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VIDEO: Commissioner Silver bans Donald Sterling for life

Adam Silver was already a long, lanky fellow before Tuesday afternoon. He stood even taller a few minutes after 2 p.m. Eastern.

Speaking powerfully, with clear anger breaking through, Silver both protected the league he has been charged to lead, and stood tall on his own, shaping his own destiny separate that of his historic predecessor, David Stern. Silver’s decision to ban L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life sent as strong as message as the NBA could send for its longest-tenured owner—running a franchise is a privilege, not a right.

But Silver and the NBA’s attorneys will be attempting to thread a very small needle in trying to compel Sterling to sell.

There is no doubt that Silver already knew he has the 3/4ths majority vote needed to try and force Sterling to sell the team in his back pocket before he took the stage in New York. There’s “no way,” a senior team executive said Tuesday, that an owner would side with Sterling, knowing the vote would surely be made public within minutes of it being taken.

One owner said Tuesday afternoon he hopes the vote will be taken “hopefully before [the] July scheduled meeting” of the Board of Governors, but if not, it will definitely be addressed at that July meeting.

But the NBA will still, apparently, be looking to remove Sterling under Article 13 of its constitution, which only covers actions such as willfully violating the league’s constitution or bylaws, failure to pay dues, being found guilty of attempting to fix games, amassing huge gambling debts, or disbanding the team during a season.

Did Sterling “willfully violate the constitution or bylaws” by what he said?

And Sterling will surely not go gently into that good night.

He has spent much of his tenure as Clippers owner in court against former employees, from Bill Fitch to Mike Dunleavy to Elgin Baylor, as well as defending himself against lawsuits from aggrieved women and tenants at his housing projects. Rarely has he been outright defeated, often settling with parties with the condition there be no finding of guilt assigned to him.

It is certainly possible, many league observers believe, that Donald Sterling could cede operational control of the team to his estranged wife, Shelly, who has been as avid a fan of the team as he has. However, the status of their relationship is, at best, in question, given the fact that the recording that brought Sterling down was between him and his girlfriend. The Sterlings are not divorced.

There was, to be sure, more than a dollop of damage control in Silver’s words. The NBA was facing a mutiny of players, both among the Clippers and around the league, during its playoffs if Sterling wasn’t punished as severely as he was. Fifteen advertisers and corporate sponsors had already pulled out from or suspended their business arrangements with the team, and the prospect of long and drawn out protests, not only outside Staples Center but at other venues, was likely.

Players around the league were waiting to see what Silver would do, and how he would do it.

“Sterling’s remarks were appalling and odious,” said Arn Tellem, whose firm is the top player agency. “They brought the game into disrepute. He debased the game and African Americans … the most important thing is the punishment meted out by Adam Silver is the decisive declaration of racial justice that the country deserves to hear.”

And Silver, as his opening remarks made clear, had to make his decision in the midst of the historical record the NBA had with regard to not only minority players, but minority coaches, executives — and, now, owners.

The National Basketball Players Association, according to at least one source Tuesday, was attempting to get all players to commit to boycotting Tuesday’s playoff games in Chicago, with the Bulls and Wizards, and in Oklahoma City, with the Thunder and Grizzlies, as well as in Los Angeles. Whether it would have succeeded remains up in the air, but it’s a moot point now.

The Clippers’ players were, as you could understand, relieved — though one Tuesday afternoon still wondered and worried how long Sterling would remain owner.

It will not be an easy process.

Removal of an owner under the NBA’s constitution and bylaws falls under Section 14, “Procedure For Termination.” The procedure begins with a charge filed against the owner, in this case, Sterling, by another owner or by Silver. The league must present Sterling with the charges within three days of filing them against him. He then has up to five days to respond after receiving the charge. A special meeting of the Board of Governors would then be called not more than 10 days after Sterling officially answered the charges.

If Sterling ignored the charges or otherwise didn’t answer them, or if he failed to attend the special meeting, he would be viewed as admitting the charges were true, according to the language in Section 14.

Assuming Sterling attended the special meeting, he would have the right to be represented by counsel. According to the language in Section 14, “strict rules of evidence would not apply”; whether that would allow the league to use the contents of the tape as evidence is unclear.

A vote of 3/4ths of the owners, or 23 of 30, would be considered a yes vote for terminating Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers.

If that happened, a simple majority of owners would then be needed to transfer ownership of the team from Sterling to the NBA, which would then be allowed — at least, according to Section 14 — to liquidate whatever assets were necessary to pay off any existing debts. (As the Clippers are believed to be a relatively healthy team financially, this shouldn’t be a major issue.)

The team would then likely be sold through the league and an investment bank, similar to the way the NBA bought and then sold the then-New Orleans Hornets. The league bought the team from then-owner George Shinn for $300 million, and sold it less than a year later to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson for $339 million.

Once the team’s debts were paid and the team was sold, all remaining money from the sale would go to Sterling. The league would be motivated to sell the team under these conditions for the highest possible price, lest it leave itself open to a charge by Sterling that he was forced to sell the team under duress, and for less than market value.

There would be any number of suitors to buy the team if Sterling indeed put the team up for sale. The price would be “a billion at least,” according to an industry source.

Two sources confirmed a Yahoo! Sports report that Magic Johnson and Guggenheim Partners, who helped broker the deal to buy the Dodgers for $2.1 billion in 2012, have at least an interest in the Clippers. However, one of those sources said the interest was extremely preliminary and that the group had not in any way begun seriously putting a bid together for the team.


VIDEO: Union, players react to Commissioner Silver’s action

76 Comments

  1. Vet says:

    Has anyone Seen the Connection. Between Magic Johnson and Ms V. Was this a Plan for M Johnson to Take Over by Paying Ms V. .. 2010 till Now..

  2. Bojeezy says:

    I agree. $2.5 million is just a slap on the wrist for someone like Sterling. It should be more to include for cost of inflation. 2.5 billion seems more appropriate punishment. lol. I like replaying Banned from the NBA for Life!!! Good riddance for the league.

  3. Peter says:

    Freedom of speech, as guaranteed by our Constitution, is not understood by the vast majority of Americans. It protects us against persecution by THE GOVERNMENT for our speech which the government finds objectionable. It does not give us protection against other private citizens, organizations or business entities for speech they find harmful. The government can not persecute an individual for racist or political comments. However, this does not preclude private citizens or organizations from doing so if
    they feel harmed.

    • Matt says:

      Yes, but there is also the question of what rule in the NBA did he violate? And if he did violate one of their silly policies, can they go after him when he was talking privately at the time? If not, he’s got a good chance of winning in court.

  4. BobDaMahn says:

    NBA needs to fine Shaq and Burke for the instagram incidents where they showed bigotry as well. Do the right thing and show us there is not a double standard. Regardless of apology there needs to be action taken to confirm that the league is impartial and that bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated.

  5. Dave says:

    but why ban Sterling if you’re not going to ban Shaq, I have a question why isnt Shaq’s equally disgusting behaviour being talked about at all? He’s a part owner of the Kings. Is the NBA OK with its owners WILLFULLY mocking NBA fans with birth defects? Until I start hearing the people demanding and praising the ban of Sterling call for the same for Shaq, I’m left with nothing to think other than 1. you’re racist 2. you aupport bulliea. Equality means just that. If Sterling can be punished, so too should O’Neal. NO EXCEPTIONS. http://www.ijreview.com/2014/04/133773-video-shaquille-oneal-celebrity-friends-cruelly-mocked-disabled-man-got-14k-likes/

  6. Ty says:

    I’m not shocked by the audio. Theirs plenty of white business owners who feel the same way and plenty of black business owner who lack personal interest in white mingling. These are natural feel resorting from past interactions through life. It unfortunate this came to be, but by being so high up in the financial world you have to safe gard yourself.

  7. harris27312 says:

    who ever is standing up for sterling must have never had to face discrimination before. what he said was offensive to everyone. yes he said it in the privacy of his dwelling but his past actions were public. you can no longer excuse people because of the era they grew up in as a successful business man he is suppose to be able to deal with all people without his personal feelings and beliefs getting in the way. This man still has a slave owners mentality when he makes statements like i am the one who feed them, or clothed them, or housed them when he said that it had a feel of ownership. I agree with what silver did but one thing i would have add is to ban the whole family because his wife knew what that man was all about and she defended him until he admit that was his voice and lets not forget they are still married and as long as she has a voice about the team he has a voice about the team.

  8. milutin says:

    Silver, Sterling, Goldberg, Goldburg, Gold ahhaaaaaa for heaveen sake how many…

  9. Brandon says:

    Stop with the 1st amendment argument!!!! Sterling is an owner in the NBA so therefore he has to abide by NBA rules, freedom of speech has nothing to do with it. The bottom line is that he broke LEAGUE rules.

    • Matt says:

      Which rule was that? The only rule that was broken was the illegal spying against Sterling’s will. Instead of defending this, you should be concerned, our rights to privacy as Americans is going down the drain. It’s scary, Big Brother is watching you!

  10. Daniel Jacques says:

    The NBA should sell the team to Larry Ellison. At a net wealth of $48 Billion he is an Mt. Everest of cash compared to Sterling ($1.9 B) or any other potential owner; Magic Johnson ($500 Million), Mayweather/ de la Hoya ($400 Million), Sean Combs ($700 Million). Would Sterling bother to sue Ellision when he most certainly can not outlast the guy in a legal battle that Sterling would most likely lose? Sterling may be a lawyer but I bet he isn’t as good as Ellison’s lawyers or the NBA’s lawyers. But from what hear Sterling is pretty irrational and stubborn. Maybe he wouldn’t mind throwing away some of that undeserved cash he’ll get off the sale. Ellison if he wanted could buy the team at a top dollar that might make Sterling just shut up and leave. Look for the NBA to woo him heavily.

    • Daniel Jacques says:

      Ellison actually dwarfs any nba owner, “According to Forbes.com, Prokhorov ($13 billion net worth) has fallen behind Blazers owner Paul Allen ($15 billion).” … as wealthiest owner in NBA.

  11. Mike says:

    You know what would be nice for a change ? If he just bowed out and gave the team up.

  12. Kws1066 says:

    I know what he said was wrong, but what he said legally wrong? This man is vastly wealthy and probably, (like it or not) has the law in his side. However no African Americans will want to play for him, but I believe it will be impossible to make him sell the Clippers untill he wishes to.

    • Mike says:

      The law has nothing to do with it. The NBA is a business and therefore has the right to do whatever it needs to in order to protect its interests.

  13. David Westley Smith says:

    I think the best way to settle this without involving Sterling is to DISSOLVE the team, place all the players with other NBA teams. Instead of having 30 NBA teams, just have 29 teams. Plan B: Let Oprah buy the team from Sterling in a personal sale. That way you will have a Black and female owner!!

  14. Brian says:

    Removing Sterling will not be easy. He can sue the league claiming that they violated his constitutional right to free speech. This will put the matter in the courts for years. Technically, Sterling would be right. No matter how offensive his remarks are, he has the right to say them. If that were not true, then how does the KKK get away with their marches and Clive Bundy get away with the remarks?

    The recording was made in private, which means it cannot be used in court. Without the tape, the league will be hard pressed to prove the point.

    The problem isn’t over, it has just begun.

    • Ginger says:

      While I agree with your take on the issue, the simple thing is Sterling will not be able to get players if he still continues to be the owner of the team.

  15. JCVS101 says:

    it’s his personal opinion spoken ‘privately’ – or so he thought. despicable but he has rights too.

  16. Rob says:

    So what is the penalty for Shaq with this discrimination against people with genetic disorders? See what kind of discrimination is within the powerful league we call righteous.

    https://ca.shine.yahoo.com/blogs/shine-on/cyberbully-shaquille-o-neal-mocks-man-rare-disorder-173437698.html

  17. LuJuice says:

    Sterling is a Billionaire. The Fine, the Ban and the Attempt to have him sell his team seem appropriate. This is my reasoning: About 90% of the Players in this Sport are African Americans. This is Not Hockey. If the commish would not have done what he did. That would have been the devistation of the league. Not becuase of the Players, but because of the Owners. I do believe that no one should be taping someones private conversation, but once that cat’s out the bag. There is really no way to put the guinee back in the Bottle. It’s apparent that Mr. Sterling does not like African Americans, so that lost of not seeing them play is minimal. Mr. Sterling has also a past history of these kinds of infractions. He is also a very smart, shrewed and I am sure he will have the best Rep’s/layers if he does decide to sell his time. Not to mention the huge profit he will attain. Mr. Sterling while reulsive has the right to say and feel whatever he wishes. The NBA also has the right to react and take immediate action against the tarnishing of their brand. We have had a variety of incidents (Paula Dean, Those Duck Hunters) that also have had these kinds of reaction from society at large. This should teach the leaders and powerful executives that they to can be vulnurable. Prsonally, I am so fortunate to have White, Black and Brown in my family. I love them all. I also do not accept racist comments no matter whom it comes from. That means African Americans ned to Stop using racist comments toward each other. I never understood that logic. African Americans using the N-Word as an act of effection toward each other It is ignorance in display. I hope I covered most of the line item issues. Plase excuse my typo’s.

  18. Heath says:

    What a lot of folks who are spouting here in support of Sterling seem to forget that the US government and the NBA are two completely different entities. This may seem a silly comparison, but I am a part owner of the Green Bay Packers. When I purchased stock in the team, I received a book of law..rules on ownership. One of those rules, not word for word, they describe how you represent yourself, your team and the NFL. I IS illegal to the NFL law if I were to be heard spewing hate. You cannot expect the government’s laws to influence the NBA as the NBA is a private entity which created its own by laws. According to US law, Sterling has every bit a right to talk trash about anyone he likes and not be penalized by the government. However, it is simply not the case is professional sports. Just like a governing board of a corporation can have the power to buy an owner out if they decide the owner’s actions, public AND private are deemed a weight on their corporation. Was it “right” that he was recorded and then the tape released to the public? Of coarse not….but he needed to remember who he represented…and allowing himself to be put in that kind of situation…and to endanger the team and the whole of the NBA, just not smart. He will be bought out…and I hope this serves as a lesson to the rest of those owners who have their ancient beliefs. Nobody is telling you what to believe…but keep it to yourself.

    • Matt says:

      If sports go so far out of their way to take people’s rights away, maybe those who care for freedom should simply stop supporting them. Regardless, Sterling will fight this, and I still hope the courts take his side. It’s sad that he might get in more trouble than the dirtball players, including one who starts a fight with a fan.

  19. mike garus says:

    NBA.com censors

  20. Jake says:

    This whole thing is a very sad day for everyone. I am from a smaller minority than African Americans. And i will tell you that i feel Sterling got a bad deal here. But at the same time there was nothing else Silver could do! Why? because if Silver did not get rid of Sterling the NBA would lose a whole lot of money if the Players would boycot! Trust me people this is only about money. Sterling did not go against his players, he is racist but there is no proof of him going against his players. Things that bothered me the most
    1.Shaq has made fun of Yao Ming on radio and live tv
    2.Charles,Shaq both have said white boys, you white people etc to many times to count
    3. what i thought was the worst is that Kenny said something that why did all the players leave the clippers? why do they not attract other players? People like him are just adding poison They should be accaountable for what they say.

    The people who lose in this are the low income minorities who have noone protecting them from people. These RIch Players are just upset that since they ar icons, they should be treated better and are not to be considered minoritis. Screw this hype fight for people who need you(people being evicted due to race. or not getting same treatments due to race) not for these spoiled nba players who could care less about the average person!!!!!!!!

  21. psgun says:

    Due to the fact that Sterling was talking to his girlfriend about her “parading” around with black people, it would seem this is more a matter of him being jealous and she was teasing him. Young black men are certainly going to be more attractive than that old gasbag. This court case will go on for a while because the evidence and precept just don’t really justify the punishment. Freedom of speech. Privacy laws? He’s a jerk but……

  22. Joe Montoro says:

    When I started to write here, I was in agreement with Commissioner Silver. Then I went to YouTube and listened to the entire conversation with subtitles. Sterling, an 80 yr old married white male, comes from the generation that was part of segregation. He has a long history of racism, we know that, and it is despicable.
    This was a ‘private phone conversation recorded without his consent’, by what some called a much younger, gold-digging, mixed race “Girlfriend/Mistress”. She starts out the call by saying she is ‘sorry’. We don’t know what she is sorry for, so they obviously had a fight before so you have to question her motives for many reasons. She continues to bait and entrap him throughout the phone conversation. It never sounded like he said, he did not want black people coming to his games, what it sounded like was he did not want his girlfriend/mistress to attend the game with or hang out with a black man, and had asked her to remove black people from her Instagram account, being that she was ‘dating’ him. Yes his comments were racist but to what degree? He mentioned Hispanics and Blacks had issues with each other, which may be true in parts of the country.
    His comments were offensive, but taken from an illegally recorded phone call, from a mistress that had a bone to pick with him and baited him repeatedly. Under the NBA Constitution, there is no violation, especially when these were private comments. This is still America.
    Does an NBA owner really want to start a precedent that an owner can be ousted because of private, illegal recordings which content does not violate the US or NBA Constitution?
    I get that once the recordings were made public, NBA Commissioner Silver had to do something to appease its players and fans, regardless of what race’s make up the NBA. I would not be surprised to see Silver’s penalties reduced drastically after the playoffs are over and this goes before the proper channels, be it an NBA board or the legal system.

    • kathy says:

      she is making a joke of you all…this is the stupidest thing I have heard yet,how sad when she is of mixed color and we all are of a color who cares we are all people and when has it came to where we cant say black,white,brown…what is next…this is sad and for the nba to do this to this man is so sad and I feel shame on them…he must not be racist if she is a girlfriend or even a friend of his….shame on the nba for even putting this on tv or even making this an issue

  23. chris says:

    racist? his “girlfriend” money digger is half black half mexican!
    k

  24. nba fan says:

    Read this article that says that Silver’s action was money driven:
    http://www.caintv.com/adam-silver-banned-donald-ster

  25. Rest in Peace Dr. Jack says:

    I don’t believe it will be hard to remove him . His case would be baseless because he did sign on the dotted line to agree with the by laws and guidelines of being an owner. All this well he always goes the legal route stuff is not accurate . He always takes the legal route when he has better lawyers and more money than a everyday person. In this case he does not have that as an advantage . If I was him I would bow out with my large sum of money from selling the team and let that be that.

  26. Pat says:

    The NBA has now set a precedence they can not maintain or keep consistent.
    The next time someone is caught on tape (publicly or privately) speaking racist remarks, will they also get a lifetime ban as well? You can’t tell me this does not ever happen at all in the locker rooms or at homes.

    Similarly, will this boil over to prejudice against sexual orientation? Pro Choice/Abortion? Religion?

    I don’t think the NBA actually had a choice in the matter as to what they HAD to do, as they needed to protect their brand. As much as I disagree with Sterling’s values, he has the right to think and say whatever he wants in private. In addition, are we going to start banning (or jailing) everyone that speaks ill will at home? For bloody sake, its something he said, not something he acted upon… is this the next Homeland Security that punishes people for being politically incorrect?

    • RobC says:

      Pat, I completely understand what you are stating and is something that will be considered. However, this case is not just about this one incident. Donald Sterling has exhibit a degradating and irresponsible attitude since his inception (and exposure) as an NBA owner. He has an extensive history of lawsuits, claims, issues and controversy for discrimination of several types (gender, race, etc.). This is not just a one time offense, this is a guy with whom the NBA League, players, affiliates, sponsors, etc. decided they had enough and took a hard stance aginst his actions. This is not a precedence set by the NBA, precedences like this have been already established in US Pro Sports, like the MLB Cincinatti Reds to mention one case that is almost identical in this case. Other MLB, NFL owners have also received temporary bans. I don’t think the “precedence” aspect is as big of a deal as many want to make it seem.

  27. weirdness says:

    the owners , the commissioner and the NBA should’ve rallyed around Elgin Baylor ex gm of the clippers when he brought charges of “Plantation Mentality” against Don Sterling in a lawsuit a few years back.

  28. Punny says:

    He shouldn’t be banned for life. I mean he didn’t direct it towards his players he was just speaking his mind. Also, that;s taking away his freedom of speech and if he said what he said in a foreign country he would have been killed or something but in the United States you have the right to speak whatever you wish. Also, the chick shouldn’t have put him on blast like that…..

    • D2thaiz0 says:

      1. You do have the right to freedom of speech. 2. With freedom of speech comes responsibility 3.You have the right to deal with the consequences of your actions.

  29. Betty says:

    I think that the NBA should take this just one step further…retire the “Clippers” franchise completly. Why send him off to the bank laughing with an additional billion dollars… Open the door to have another investor create a new franchise, with an new name (the current name has been disgraced forever) and contract all current players and let the City move on. It seems to me that this owner voided all contracts with all players and personnel (contracts that are still due in full financially) when he engaged in conduct that devistated the name of the franchise in such a manner. Had this been one of the players they would be fired and their contract voided. It should go both ways. However, a fresh start with a new name and new franchise (disbanding the clippers franchise completly…therefore no additional payday for the current owner or his wife) would give the city a fresh start and a “first year win” next year would be my prediction… making history for all the right reasons….just saying…

    • john says:

      You do know that the  “Clippers” are a business that he owns. He paid money to own the Clippers. You cant take it from him, give the team a new name, and give it to someone else….That’s called stealing just saying

  30. JustMyOpinion says:

    You’re a hate-filled racial monster if you don’t want to socialize with someone from another race you may not care for for whatever reason? It’s a crime? What a bunch of PC nonsense… BTW, it’s obvious from listening to the (ILLEGALLY) recorded conversations that she was baiting him to get mad and say some hateful stuff (while making herself out to be a wonderful person, of course). I hope he crucifies her in court.

    • pikamyst says:

      This is not a court of law. It’s a privately owned group of people. It doesn’t matter how the material was obtained. Just like the first amendment, which I’m sure people will bring up, does NOT apply. The only rules that matter in this incident are the ones set by the NBA and the players union.

      Can Sterling turn this into a civil suit? Sure. Until then, discussions of privacy and freedom of speech should promptly be ignored.

    • D2thaiz0 says:

      You can be fired from your job without reason. His conduct was detrimental to the NBA brand. So he was fired. He can legally keep the Clippers. What does that mean if no one wants to play for that team, buy the merchandise, or attend the games?

    • carlos says:

      this is USA freedom of speech, if you are black and you don’t like it is your problem, also if you are indio chino, etc if you don’t like it is your problem.

  31. nba4LIFE says:

    Great job Adam Silver. Best League with the best commissioner.

  32. Jonah says:

    I understand that David Geffen is also interested in buying the Clippers. Now THAT would be fitting ….. an Africa-American Magic and an openly gay Geffen taking the Clippers away from the old bigot. Too funny.

    • cp10 says:

      If that happens then Geffen might do what Sterling did and visit the locker room to remark “look at those beautiful black bodies,” but it’d mean something different :)

  33. marty says:

    Nothing hard about removing this guy.The others owners either denounce or condone his actions.This vote should happen ASAP , not in July if what I heard is correct.

  34. PaulMichael says:

    People like Sterling would end up with a lot of money but wouldn’t really be genuinely happy, he will get old and carry a burden whether he is remorseful or not about what he said..the NBA would move on with out him it will progress bec. of the leaders and players which makes the league Great while Sterling will just look back to his life and realize money isn’t happiness

  35. thomas hudgins says:

    They should sell the team to an african american! How about that Sterling!

  36. Bill says:

    After reading all the accounts of this decision , I find it hard to believe that there is an owner who would vote to keep Mr Sterling as an owner . This man has to go , there is no place in the NBA for a life long RACSIST , and all the present owners know it. So please do the right thing and get rid of this evil person.

  37. Bird33 says:

    If the “freedom of speech” crowd are threatening to boycott the NBA as the result of Silver’s announcement, I have a suggestion for another organization they can join and or follow where they will feel more at home…they wear white robes and pointy white hats and meet in cornfields….

    To those who think Sterling had a right to say what he said….Good riddance you racist rednecks. There is no place for you in our game!! I’m glad to see that Silver protected the values that the great Bill Russell and so many others fought so hard for.

    Way to go Commish!

    A proud lifelong (and for the record, caucasian) NBA fan

    • Sterling says:

      What about Chuck said to Earnie on Insdie the TNT..he asked Earnie to hook him up to meet somebody because he thinks all the white people know each other. Sterling said in his private home with confidentiality and Barkley said that publicly on national TV. Black people just do whatever they want and is okay..i guess. How many time do I hear a black man calls a white man white boy? or making fun of them bc they’re white? when it’s other way around, they get really offensive.

      • JustMyOpinion says:

        @Sterling

        Welcome to PC America, where it’s ok for some to be bigots, but not ok for others. Remember Hardaway’s comments about homosexuals? How about Roy Hibbert’s ‘nohomo’ comment last year. But say something mildly offensive about black people and the witchhunt and burnings begin.

      • Sterling says:

        bottom line is..black ppl have too much ego nowadays and white ppl have too low self-esteem. i see white kids sometimes clowning on themselves can’t jump and things like that to blend in with black group, black ppl clown on white ppl behaviors and skillsets. if you’re not a racist, don’t make racist joke. If you’r going to record me farting in the bathroom in my own house and say I have bad behavior, that’s just bs. it’s my own house, i do things that make me comfortable. it’s my comfort zone. It’s true that Sterling has racist mind, but there is no proof that he publicly treated with with racism. he has a color gf, he invited Mayweather to the games and treated him with respect. that’s not a racist act. on the other hand, nba players are a bunch of Ego dudes

      • Sterling says:

        @JustMyOpinion.

        the NBA is where the Big Ego begins. I’m not saying what Sterling said in the recording is not a racist comment, what I’m saying is he shouldn’t be banned for quietly being who he really is in his own closet, his own house. I’m even okay with 2.5M fine but banned for life? Just pay attention to Chuck on TNT and you’ll hear him make racist jokes regularly. And Chuck is the one who said when you have money and power…it’s different. Well, Chuck, you have hell of a lot more money than I do…and you have the authority to speak nationally if not globally on TNT. So don’t make racist jokes about white or anybody. you should be banned for life!

      • RobC says:

        The situations you described above cannot be compared to this case. Those “could” be considered jokes directed at a specific individual that accepts it in the context of that conversation/interaction. Also, you are REALLY WRONG when you say that “outside” of his house Sterling has not treated people in a racist way. This last statement leads me to believe you have no clue who Donald Sterling is. This guy, has an extensive history of issues, lawsuits, controversy, and settlements do to his discriminatory actions and his direct hatred and misstreatment to other due to their race, ethnicity or gender – both on (in NBA matters) and off the court (in his non-NBA business matters).

    • Matt says:

      When someone comes after you for what you said privately that might have offended someone, we can talk.

  38. Damaris Torres says:

    i like too said to Mr. Donald him is doom because you never cut the hand you feed you

  39. Michael says:

    The Dylan Thomas reference is inappropriate. Going ‘gently into that good night’ is a metaphore for dying. A bit extreme to insinuate that is an option……. Also doesn’t comfortably using Dylan Thomas’ words on this guy…….

  40. Kofi says:

    We Black people acts funny sometimes as if it’s only whites who are racist but I know many super racist blacks, though he may be gone from the NBA but he may not care not after all he’s much richer a team he bough for 20million now worth a Billion, and just so we know the whole race on earth is against as so free Sterling and look for better ways of redeeming ourselves away from violence, drugs, drop outs and seeing sports as the only safe haven. I know for sure his GF will be the bitch in the long run.Respect is earn not given.

  41. Evidence says:

    The NBA is in danger when Sterling’s lawyers fight back: a secretly recorded tape cannot be presented as evidence. Without evidence, NBA can do nothing! Force him to sell the team? He will if the sale makes $$ for him. Otherwise, his lawyers are not idiots.

    • D2thaiz0 says:

      Wrong. You can be fired. He was fired. He can keep the Clippers Brand if he wants. Under his ownership it’s worth much less than it used to be.

  42. Matt says:

    The constitution of the US is what matters. The NBA cannot violate it, and it did. Not only was Sterling’s privacy taken away, but so were his rights as an American. Free speech is free speech, racist speech is among the main speech protected. If people are offended, that’s their problem, life moves on. He didn’t harm a soul, it was only words, and what he said has been manipulated by many. He did not say for black people to not attend a Clippers game, he was merely asking his partially black girlfriend to not parade them around. In the future, I wish the Clippers the best of luck, yesterday they showed they still have it. And I hope Sterling takes the NBA to court, a just court would clearly side with him. As far as pro sports go, I’m done. I won’t support them anymore. This is the last straw. I’ll protest the only way I can, the NBA won’t get another dime from me, nor will any of the other sports. They have become a political show, and an outright joke.

    • Jorge says:

      The freedom of speech protects you from the government taking action against you for something you say (with exceptions, of course). In this case what Mr. Sterling did is not necessarily illegal (if he did not act according to his opinion). But the NBA as a private organization is free to impose restrictions on speech, just as a McDonnalds worker could be fired if they had a YouTube channel on which they exclusively posted videos about how awful McDonnalds food was.

      • Matt says:

        So, what you’re saying is the US Constitution is secondary to the NBA constitution? Doesn’t make any sense to me. The NBA can rule whatever way they want, the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land, you can’t violate it. Either way, this case is scary as far as the liberties that we are losing as we speak. People who celebrate might be the next victims. Everyone has a skeleton in their closet, a little invasion of privacy could get anyone in trouble.

    • Bball7 says:

      One acronym…NSA

  43. 4pt.Range says:

    This is not going to be popular, however I listened to the partial recording that was released, and have come to the conclusion that Sterling was set-up to look worse than it was. 1) This was clearly a very private conversation over the phone, who records their phone calls? 2) Sterling repeatedly denies her, as she entices him to admit he is racist. He continually states that he personally loves minorities. 3) He only asks her personally to not broadcast that she is involved with other men and not to bring them to his games. 4) She presses him and presses him after he says he is done talking about it, but again it is her bringing race into it. 5) Magic, Sterling says he admires and deserves to be admired, and she should admire also, that she can do anything with him including fk him just please don’t broadcast it.

    Witch hunt. Diversity means all sides, even guys like Donald Sterling, who is clearly a heavy drinker and an as-hat but he has a right to ask his gf not to do this that that.
    One last question. Is anyone of the top 1000 richest people in the world not an as-hat? If the NBA bans one , can we ban them all and take their teams and money??

  44. Brain32 says:

    Hmm if he said that to his girlfriend then isn’t the whole thing kinda private? Also the recording was obviously secret so what are we talking about here REALLY? Clear it up NBA….because this is cloudy and foggy you are not being completely honest with us…the guy is obviously not sunshine and rainbows but getting rid of him on a setup is not the way as much as I don’t like what I read about him…

  45. Andy says:

    The league did what it had to. The true test for the league will be when the next player lets a slur slip. Now they should be banned, too. If they are not, it creates ammunition for the lawsuit Sterling will bring.

  46. Brandon says:

    Unfortunately, Sterling still wins. He’s still racist and holds no remorse.
    He couldn’t care less about the game of basketball or its players and no matter what happens he comes out even richer.
    While its sad that someone’s only source of happiness may be money, that person still feels happiness.
    This is a proud day and a big day for the NBA; we can never forget that.
    I only wish that a man like Sterling would be able to learn from his mistakes and to change his thought process or receive an even larger punishment than what commissioner Silver has set.

    • frank bartlet says:

      what did he say and where and whom did he say these thing too
      .in all of rhese newscast no one has given us the facts..was it in public or private all we know. he dosent like black people.

  47. MikeBoogie says:

    Freedom of speech does not apply when you are a part of a organization… You become a part of the organization/NBA then you have rules and code of conduct. He’s Now Free to say what ever he wants. If I worked for a person and spoke against what the company stood for then I would get fired simple as that no question ask..

    • Dieter says:

      Than half of my colleagues should get fired in every company I worked for… again private conversations are what they are: private. You don’t know what the context is, and why people say such stuff in private… freedom of speech is part of the world, and the world is bigger than any company. Listening in on private conversations… now that is something that is not right… because we also have a right to have our privacy, and that has nothing to do with being an NBA owner or not.

    • Milch Kosanovich says:

      Sterling was not exercising his right to speak. His comments were part of a private conversation that were recorded without his knowledge or permission. The Freedom of Speech DOES apply to people who are part of an organization. The Clive Bundy incident is a perfect example. How many different representatives of various organizations came out to publicly support Bundy?An organization is NOT synonymous with a business or company. Owning and running a franchise is NOT the same thing as working for a company.

      He has spoke his mind for the past thirty-three years without repercussions so why is it an issue now? Because it was a conspiracy by the NBA and Magic Johnson to steal Sterling’s franchise from him while they are contenders and at peak value. Why? Because the buss family flatly refused to sell him the Lakers. Since Magic has the financial backing of the Guggenheim Partners money will not be an issue.

      They will give Sterling his half a billion dollars and then re-brand the Clippers with Magic and they will become they will become the most popular franchise in L.A. since the Lakers are years away from contending again.

      • nba fan says:

        Milch,
        So basically you are saying follow the money to learn the motives behind this story. Will the gold digging girlfriend that baited Sterling in the private conservation get a huge payoff? What you are saying makes sense since the NBA and NAACP knew about Sterling’s racism for many years, so why now? The truth be known how many people that are in an uproar could throw stones at Sterling and HONESTLY say they have never said anything negative about another race? Sterling probably shouldn’t own an NBA team if he doesn’t like being around blacks, however you would think more people would be bothered by the unlawful taping of this personal conversation. Read what Kareem Abdul Jabbar has to say about this story. The media goes crazy over stories about race and the majority of people fall for it!
        http://toprightnews.com/?p=2777