NBA, Smack / Apr 29, 2014 / 5:00 pm

Despite Lifetime Ban, Donald Sterling Says The Clippers Are “Not For Sale”

Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling (Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE)

When Adam Silver made the smart decision to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life after an investigation revealed Sterling was in fact the voice behind the disgusting remarks about black people in a leaked audio file last weekend, he reiterated how strongly he’ll petition the league’s board of governors to force Sterling into selling the team. The only problem? Donald Sterling doesn’t appear willing to let go.

Fox News’ Jim Gray spoke with Sterling moments before Silver made his announcement and Sterling was unaware of the pending lifetime ban.

He wouldn’t go on the record for most his conversation with Gray, even asking Gray what he should expect before Silver made his announcement, at which point Gray told him about an initial TMZ report. While in the dark as to his lifetime ban, Sterling did reiterate what he’s always said when people asked: the Clippers are “not for sale.”

Silver was pretty adamant that he would do everything within his power to force Sterling to sell the Clippers, but as you can see, the racial bigot isn’t going to be that easy to usurp, even if he’s banned from the Staples Center and every other arena in the NBA.

It is possible to remove Sterling by invoking the provision within the NBA’s constitutional bylaws that ESPN’s Lester Munson wrote about earlier today. There would need to be a three-fourths vote from the NBA’s Board of Governors — the 30 NBA owners — to terminate Sterling’s franchise:

Q: Is it possible for Silver and the NBA to terminate Sterling’s franchise ownership?

A: Yes. Under the terms of Paragraph 13 of the constitution, the owners can terminate another owner’s franchise with a vote of three-fourths of the NBA Board of Governors, which is composed of all 30 owners. The power to terminate is limited to things like gambling and fraud in the application for ownership, but it also includes a provision for termination when an owner “fails to fulfill” a “contractual obligation” in “such a way as to affect the [NBA] or its members adversely.” Silver and the owners could assert that Sterling’s statements violated the constitution’s requirements to conduct business on a “reasonable” and “ethical” level.

Any owner or Silver can initiate the termination procedure with a written charge describing the violation. Sterling would have five days to respond to the charge with a written answer. The commissioner would then schedule a special meeting of the NBA Board of Governors within 10 days. Both sides would have a chance to present their evidence, and then the board would vote. If three-fourths of the board members vote to terminate, then Sterling would face termination of his ownership. It would require a vote of two-thirds of the board to reduce the termination to a fine. Terminating a franchise would obviously be a drastic remedy, but the potential of the termination procedure gives Silver and the other owners vast leverage in any discussion with Sterling about an involuntary sale of his team.

Silver said in his press conference: “I fully expect to get the support needed.”

We’re guessing Silver, as a smart disciple of David Stern for years, wouldn’t have uttered that phrase with so much confidence if he hadn’t already done an informal head count among the NBA’s owners to figure out whether three-fourth’s of them would vote to terminate Sterling’s ownership rights.

But we can’t know for certain whether they’ll get the owner’s votes needed to end his dark tenure as the head of the Clippers.

(Fox News; ESPN)

Will the owners ratify a vote forcing Sterling to sell the team?

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  • SweetdickWilly

    All they can do is try and pressure him to sell the team to them. He essentially can set the price. The NBA won’t dissolve the team even though they could since like I said before, the Clippers are in arguably the biggest market and they have Blake & CP3. The first questions that Adam was asked were points I raised: “Why was nothing done before?” and “What legal grounds exist to ban him?”Those two account for just $200 million alone contractually and are far behind LeBron in terms of star power. Nobody in the NBA sense of morality will drive them to wipe their ass and piss on what has to be at least a billion dollars. He can hold out and they basically have to pay. Sterling can sue Stiviano back to the Stone Age for those recordings and maybe the NBA too. Sterling went down but not without a parachute.

  • 2cents

    You raise an important point for me too. What legal grounds do they have for making him sell the team? I want him out, but just because of someone’s opinions, why are they forced to give up something legally belonging to them?

    This ruling will be interesting, as I wonder if it would then be applicable in every day use elsewhere…

  • SweetdickWilly

    The thing about racism is that not only must it be proven but it also must be done within the parameters of the law. You’d have to prove that it was behind harm that was done to another party or parties in a tangible sense. A great example of that is Brown vs. The board of Education. It’s common sense that racism is bad but you have to prove your argument in court because common sense can’t be counted on to bail you out. This is why the NBA is at a disadvantage due its hypocrisy since not only was Sterling given a pass for years but it also went out of the NBA Constitution in a sense by hitting him with a Pete Rose. The players especially have whored themselves. They’ve unified and gone on strike twice over money but like the NBA Brass, they didn’t say shit until Magic got put on blast. They’ve signed and resigned with the Clippers despite his shit for as long as he’s owned the team. That shit that will hurt them in court because it’s basically a guarantee that it’ll go there now. Sterling won’t truly lose because the NBA as whole got aired out too for being as two faced as Harvey Dent.

  • Juantanamo

    the NBA didn’t do anything sooner because, I think, he settled previous incidents out of court. would he have gone to court and been found guilty that would be a different matter.