How the NBA can get rid of Donald Sterling

The NBA can get rid of Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but it won't be easy

4/28/14 in NBA   |   JoeKukura   |   492 respect

Blog Photo - How the NBA can get rid of Donald SterlingNearly every advertiser has bailed out on the Los Angeles Clippers after audio surfaced of Clippers owner Donald Sterling's alleged racist remarks. Clippers coach Doc Rivers has thrown his boss under the bus, saying Monday that "Yeah, I believe he said those things." Fellow team owner Michael Jordan said Sunday that "we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level" in the NBA. Even President Obama has weighed in, saying " I suspect that the NBA is going to be deeply concerned in resolving this."

You know what he means by "resolving this" -- most anyone with an opinion wants to see Sterling removed as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Yes, the NBA can do that, but it would be exceedingly difficult. It would be better if Sterling would resign, but that would be exceedingly unlikely.

So what can the NBA do? They will almost surely suspend Sterling as an owner in their 2pm Tuesday press conference. "The smart money is on a lengthy suspension," says Michael Rosenberg in Sports Illustrated. "Silver has to get Sterling out of the national conversation, as much as he can, during the time of year when the country pays the most attention to the NBA. The Clippers are championship contenders. Silver can't risk the possibility of Sterling's hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy in June."

Blog Photo - How the NBA can get rid of Donald SterlingThe NBA can terminate Sterling, but it would take a three-fourths majority of the owners voting to do so. "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," writes legal expert Lester Munson at ESPN. "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."

They would not terminate the Clippers franchise, of course, just Sterling's ownership of it. He would likely sue them in response, and a legal win for him would be a colossal embarrassment for the league. The league would much prefer that he find a buyer. And whom might the league prefer to buy the Clippers? It might be Magic Johnson, the very guy about whom Sterling said to his girlfriend "Don't bring him to my games."



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4/29/14   |   Scott   |   53734 respect

Nothing would be better than Magic Johnson coming out of all of this as the owner of the LA Clippers.  What an ironic kick in the nut sack for Sterling that would be.