New York City, April 29, 2014: Donald Sterling has been banned for life for all activities and business affiars with his Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise. At an emotional charged news conference in New York City, covered by NYC TV News, the NBA Commisisoner, Adam Silver announced the ban and a fine of USD $2.5 million.
The Commissioner said he will get the support of three-quarters of the NBA owners to force Sterling to sell the team.
Much like the former LA Dodgers owner, Sterling might be forced to sell his franchise at an opportune moment, shortly before the NBA renegotiates its lucrative national television contract. An auction-like frenzy could drive the price toward USD$1 billion.
Or the historically litigious Sterling might turn his back on that staggering profit, choosing to stand and fight. Sterling told a national radio reporter that he will not sell the team.
That could change though, in the coming days, if at least three-quarters, or 22, of the league’s other 29 owners vote to oust him.
Silver needed only three days to decide to toss Sterling out of the league, once he was convinced that it was indeed voice on the tape, which became public on Saturday morning.
Silver said he had known Sterling, the longest-tenured owner of any of the 30 NBA teams, for about 20 years but his comments were so grave that he had no alternative other than to hand him the stiffest punishment he could under the NBA laws. Before he announced the penalties against Sterling, the new commissioner, began by telling a packed news conference of his personal disgust with the comments that were made.
“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” he said. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage. Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league.”
But even if the board of governors gets its three-quarters vote, Sterling might not go quietly — his history of litigious ferocity extends far beyond his early career as a lawyer.
In 2003, he prevailed against an employee who sued him for sexual harassment. Six years later, he successfully defended himself against charges of employment discrimination brought by former LA Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor.