The NBA began Monday the process to terminate Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, the league announced in a news release.
The NBA charges 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.”
Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the charges and a hearing to terminate Sterling’s ownership will be held June 3. It requires three-fourths vote of owners to terminate Sterling’s ownership. Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor will preside over the hearing.
The league said 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.”
The NBA contends Sterling’s acts allow the NBA to pursue termination “under several provisions of the NBA Constitution and related agreements.”
In its constitution and bylaws, the NBA has focused on Article 13(d) which states a member or owner can be terminated if he or she fails or refuses “to fulfill its contractual obligations to the Association, its Members, Players, or any other third party in such a way as to affect the Association or its Members adversely.”
Sterling is also accused of violating ethical and moral contracts with the NBA, USA TODAY Sports reported on May 7. USA TODAY Sports also reported last week that Sterling is refusing to the pay the $2.5 million and Sterling’s attorney Maxwell M. Blecher wrote in a letter to the NBA that Sterling does not warrant “any punishment at all.” Blecher also said the matter will need to be settled in a court of law because the NBA’s fine and lifetime ban violates Sterling’s right to due process.
If Sterling does not think he deserves the fine or lifetime ban, it stands to reason Sterling does not think he should be forced to sell his team. Sterling is well-known for his litigious tactics and it is expected Sterling and his legal team will try to halt this process by filing an injunction.