The NBA formally began the process to terminate Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, charging that he violated the league’s constitution and by-laws and scheduling a hearing for June 3.
After a recording of Sterling making racist comments leaked, the Clippers owner received a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The NBA Board of Governors needs to reach a three-fourths vote in order for the league to be able to resell the team, which Sterling has owned since 1981.
According to a press release, Sterling, 80, has “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.
Mr. 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 real estate mogul has until May 27 to respond to the charge, and can also make a presentation at the special board meeting planned for June 3.
Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling, who owns 50% of the team, also doesn’t want to sell the Clippers. Her attorney has said she would not “agree to a forced or involuntary seizure of her interest.”