NBA imposes lifetime ban on Sterling, $2.5 million fine

posted at 2:41 pm on April 29, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

What are the wages of racism in the NBA, at least when it can’t be overlooked?  TMZ heard it would be an indefinite suspension and a big fine, but the league had a tougher punishment in mind:

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for making racist remarks to his girlfriend on tape.

He also fined him $2.5 million, and encouraged the NBA Board of Governors to vote to terminate Sterling’s ownership — forcing him to sell the team.

We’ll get to the sale in a moment. What does a lifetime ban look like when applied to an owner? Much the same as a similar one applied to Marge Schott by Major League Baseball a couple of decades ago:

Can the league owners force Sterling to sell? The league’s constitution is secret, so most can only speculate — although one would presume that Silver knows it well enough to make this case. The other owners may not force Sterling to sell, but he may have little choice in any case. The Los Angeles Clippers are having their best season on the court, but they broke records of another kind with corporate sponsors:

All it took was one day for the Los Angeles Clippers to lose all of its corporate sponsors. This must be some kind of record.

More than a dozen companies have ended their relationships with the National Basketball Association team or have suspended activities after owner Donald Sterling was allegedly recorded making racist remarks in a phone conversation. Over the weekend, a recording of his comments went public on TMZ and other sites.

Corona, the beer company thought to be the last major sponsor holding out, said Monday afternoon it would suspend its agreement with the team until the NBA completes its investigation into the issue.

“Like everyone else, Corona is appalled by the comments allegedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” Corona parent Constellation Brands said in a released statement. “These comments run counter to the type of brand Corona aspires to be.”

State Farm started the exodus. Even Amtrak — whose sponsorship run finished a few weeks ago but had considered re-engaging — says those plans are now derailed. The problem for the league is that two teams play in every game, and it may not just be the Clippers’ sponsors who want to keep their distance from Sterling and Clipper games. This could create a league-wide meltdown, and the NBA needs to act quickly to prevent it.

Nor may players want to sign up for Sterling’s team, and the current roster may look for less-green pastures when their contracts expire. Kavitha Davidson writes at Bloomberg that the invisible hand of the market may end up dictating league action:

For the most part, however, Sterling’s colleagues have remained silent, wary of the precedent that would be set by stripping a fellow owner of his team for non-financial reasons. And, despite the calls for them to boycott the playoffs, it’s unfair to expect the burden of punishing Sterling to fall entirely on the players and coaches, whose life goal has been to win a championship.

The onus then falls to the invisible hand of the market to force Sterling to spare us all of his continued presence in the league. You can’t fault Chris Paul for staying on the team — he has four years and more than $88 million left on his contract. But you can be certain that after the current roster’s deals all expire, the Clippers won’t be able to sign many free agents should Sterling remain the team’s owner. Outside of the Lakers, Los Angeles would become the Chernobyl of the NBA. …

Donald Sterling needs to be hit where it’ll hurt him the most: his wallet. A man who insists he’s not racist while continuing to deny the dignity of black men will stubbornly keep his aging hands gripped around his team until he’s forced to give it up. Fortunately, there are plenty of wealthy people looking to own an NBA team — among them,Magic Johnson himself. To watch him go from not being welcome at Clippers games to occupying the owner’s box would be a fitting resolution to this ugly ordeal.

I mention that as a potentially perfect outcome of poetic justice in my column at The Week today. I also note that we may have made great strides in fighting racism, but the Sterling example shows that it’s not gone altogether:

Peter Wehner wondered in his Commentary column yesterday “how, based on these incidents, I would feel if I were a black person in America in 2014.” His answer: “Pretty sick to my stomach.”

Indeed. And one doesn’t have to be black to feel sickened by it, especially coming from someone whose business and social interests have for so long been intertwined with the African-American community. Our hopes for national reconciliation after the centuries-long legacy of slavery and Jim Crow rested on the premise that getting to know each other and live with each other in our communities would eliminate animosity and ignorance. The reason that Sterling’s alleged rant hits a nerve is because it presents at least an anecdotal challenge to that premise.

However, the news in this case isn’t entirely depressing. First, Sterling has no public-sector power. Second, he knew enough to hide his true feelings from his private-sector interests, well enough that he was about to accept an honor from the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, which has understandably rescinded the invitation. Those embarrassing relatives from so long ago usually lacked the self-realization to hide their retrograde attitudes. “I’m sure there are some Sterling supporters lurking in the shadows,” Bernard Goldberg wrote this week. “But that’s good news too.They’re in the shadows! That’s not always how it was in America.” …

We may not see perfect justice and an end to racism in the hearts of all Americans in our lifetime, but we can certainly hope to see it — and even in this episode take heart in how much we have done in such a short time. But we should not allow political demagoguery to blind us to the fact that we haven’t succeeded yet, and that those who lived through worse times understandably worry that we could relapse.

Instead of pretending that racism doesn’t exist, or pretending that nothing has changed and everything is racism, let’s focus on the real problems that still persist.

It will be interesting to see whether Sterling capitulates to get out of the public eye, or whether he takes the league to court. The league’s owners might not be happy to open up their books and constitution to court scrutiny, so perhaps Sterling can buffalo them into an “indefinite suspension” and limbo status in the end. Given how much Sterling stands to gain in a sale, though, he may be already angling for a quick exit now.


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Of course if the races of the 2 involved had been reversed…

annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2014 at 2:42 PM

People have just lost their ever loving’ minds.

claudius on April 29, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Whoops.

MT on April 29, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Absolutely absurd.

changer1701 on April 29, 2014 at 2:45 PM

…pretty swift justice!…maybe JugEars and the DOJ will learn something from the NBA?

KOOLAID2 on April 29, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Sterling is a flaming loon.

But the sad thing is that orthodoxy continues to loom large in progressive America. So be it.

It’s hot there, be careful about what you think.

Chuck Ef on April 29, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Next up: Any “Homophobic” person will be forced out; cheered on by the left and Morrissey. And who is homophobic you ask? Substitute the word “Christian” there.

Just ask Brandon Eich.

Vanceone on April 29, 2014 at 2:46 PM

“I’m sure there are some Sterling supporters lurking in the shadows,” Bernard Goldberg wrote this week. “But that’s good news too.They’re in the shadows! That’s not always how it was in America.”

Keep that thought in mind when voicing opposition to homosexual marriage, gun control, global warming, euthanasia, etc. gets pushed into “the shadows.”

dreadnought62 on April 29, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Thought Police, Extortion Division.

Bat Chain Puller on April 29, 2014 at 2:47 PM

I also note that we may have made great strides in fighting racism, but the Sterling example shows that it’s not gone altogether:

Spare us the cliched piety.

This world has gone mad.

rrpjr on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Awdul, indefensible decision that shows the dangerous path we’re headed down. I hope anyone who supports this enjoys the suffering when the target is put on them as it inevitably will be.

DisneyFan on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Those of you who think this is overreaction or absurd, think on this. How on earth can a black person, or any minority, work for him? How can black players play for him? How can black fans pay ticket money to him?

He has to go.

BTW, NBA says they will send the $2.5 mil to anti-discrimination charities. I hope to God the NAACP is not one of them, given that they were about to give Sterling an award that he likely paid for with cash.

Nessuno on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Too weak , they should ban NBA . Period.

the_nile on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Apparently, the other owners can force a sale with a 3/4 vote.

malclave on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

There goes some of the balance to offset the overt racism of Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson…etc, etc!!

Deano1952 on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

…and give the team to Magic and his group at a great rate. Reparations…get used to it…

fortcoins on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

“Lifetime ban”? The dude has already exceeded his expire-by date by almost a decade (average male lifespan in CA is 77).

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

It has started. Utter anything in private deemed wrong about any protected group and you will pay big time. Thought crimes are next.

Johnnyreb on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

unreal, this whole thing unreal. now what would’ve happened if Oprah had said this about one of her staffers……we all know what we’d hear….crickets.

Tom66 on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

All is going as planned.

The idea is to stir up as much racial animus as possible before the next election. This poor sap just walked into when his “girlfriend” dropped a dime.

They need to be careful however, they can overplay the hand and no one will give a damn, no matter what is said.

Lonetown on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

What are the wages of racism in the NBA, at least when it can’t be overlooked?

Of course, this doesn’t apply to the players … so, let’s not say “the NBA” when we’re only talking about a little, itty-bitty part of the NBA, and ridiculous, overblown accusations even in that minor segment.

But, truly racist, thug players … they’re cool.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Not defending this liberal democrat at all but this punishment is way over the top..hello commissioner, freedom of speech!

sadsushi on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Sterling’s day has been (Marge) Schott all to hell.

PolarCoug on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Not sure why anyone on here is defending him, unless it’s an attempt to blunt the charge of racism when/if it is directed at their interests.

Guy said stupid crap and now the invisible hand/culture does its part.

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

So an old, married white guy gets his phone call taped by his mistress ……… and the world falls apart.

If this is the most SERIOUS “news story” of the day that has everyone tied up in knots, one has to wonder at the intellectual level of our society.

GarandFan on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Nessuno on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

I’ve worked for homophobes and I’d do it again if I got the pay these guys did.

DisneyFan on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Lots of excitement in the air.

butch on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

2.5 million = 5,000 blowjobs

Blake on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

You will not think unapproved thoughts. Period.

Shump on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

I think they went with the toughest punishment as a negotiating ploy. He will end up with the 1 million fine and a few years suspension. There is no way they will get 3/4s of the owners to vote to take away his franchise which is why you have the rhetoric about pushing him to sell. His wife will run the team and he will be, at least publicly, a silent partner.

Rocks on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

BTW, NBA says they will send the $2.5 mil to anti-discrimination charities.

Nessuno on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

ROFLMAO!

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

So he broke no laws but they’re going to fine him for a private discussion, ban him for life and try to force him out of the league for racist thoughts. (Spike Lee too?)

As a white guy who owns a business.. What would be my incentive for hiring minorities now? Would it not be safer for me to just hire within my own race and sex (and now sexual preference) than expose myself to political witch hunts?

We’ve crossed the line – socialism (which is what this political action really is) has now irrevocably destroyed this country. You cannot have liberty or free speech where thought crimes are punishable.

Skywise on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Even Amtrak — whose sponsorship run finished a few weeks ago but had considered re-engaging — says those plans are now derailed.

Amtrak derailed. :)

So, no change there, then.

Axe on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

A certain white politician made these comments:

Obama is the “first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

“you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.”

And the libtard left made him Vice President of the US….

And another white politician said this:

one such as Obama — a ‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negr0 dialect, unless he wanted to have one,’

And the libtard left made him Senate Majority Leader….

dentarthurdent on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Our hopes for national reconciliation after the centuries-long legacy of slavery and Jim Crow rested on the premise that getting to know each other and live with each other in our communities would eliminate animosity and ignorance. The reason that Sterling’s alleged rant hits a nerve is because it presents at least an anecdotal challenge to that premise.

So the fact that Sterling is 81 years old isn’t relevant? Find me a much younger owner who feels this way and I might concede the point. Also, does anyone really think that there aren’t some nasty things said about Whites by prominent Blacks in the NBA?

SAZMD on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Not defending this liberal democrat at all but this punishment is way over the top..hello commissioner, freedom of speech!

sadsushi on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Guy is a registered Republican in California.

Freedom of Speech is a right that people have to not be restricted in speech by the federal government.

Nothing to do with cultural norms and so forth.

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

I’m not condoning anything Sterling said, but does the punishment fit the crime?

fortcoins on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

He also fined him $2.5 million, and encouraged the NBA Board of Governors to vote to terminate Sterling’s ownership — forcing him to sell the team.

Much as I detest Sterling’s comments, I find the idea that a group of businesses set up in a Federally protected monopoly can decide who can own businesses within this federally protected monopoly equally detestable.

If the Board of Governors is allowed to do this I support eliminating whatever charter they have protecting this monopoly.

Dusty on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Oh one more thing, are NBA players held to this same standard….?? So things they say in private or on the court to other players or in music or the like, that can get you banned now too??

Tom66 on April 29, 2014 at 2:52 PM

2.5 million = 5,000 blowjobs

Blake on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

It would be 100,000 BJs for Hugh Grant :) He’s a bargain shopper, though …

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 29, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Amtrak derailed. :)

So, no change there, then.

Axe on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Close the thread down!

annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM

So an old, married white guy gets his phone call taped by his mistress ……… and the world falls apart.

If this is the most SERIOUS “news story” of the day that has everyone tied up in knots, one has to wonder at the intellectual level of our society.

GarandFan on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

This is how state run Agitprop is done.

the_nile on April 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Oh – and I’ve gone to my last NBA game.

Skywise on April 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I watch some college b-ball but i stopped watching pro ball along time ago.

The players double dribble, travel, turn the ball over and basically just run around in their underwear to see who can jump the highest, humiliate the opposition and chest thump the most.

It’s a game of intimidation and no finesse.

Vince on April 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM

NBA imposes lifetime ban on Sterling, $2.5 million fine

That’s it? We wanted his head on a platter!

- Typical lib

pain train on April 29, 2014 at 2:53 PM

fortcoins on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

No.
like I said-if the races of the two were reversed…

annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

HA filters apparently won’t allow posts containing the racist quotes of Joe Biden and Harry Reid.

dentarthurdent on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Those of you who think this is overreaction or absurd, think on this. How on earth can a black person, or any minority, work for him? How can black players play for him? How can black fans pay ticket money to him?

He has to go.

BTW, NBA says they will send the $2.5 mil to anti-discrimination charities. I hope to God the NAACP is not one of them, given that they were about to give Sterling an award that he likely paid for with cash.

Nessuno on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Sterling’s been known as a racist and a kook for a long time in LA.

Didn’t stop players from working for him in the past. Or fans from attending.

gwelf on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Ed puts it quite well (as does Wehner): Imagine that you’re a black man who fought in Afghanistan. Or has served the country in another capacity.

You’ve worked hard, you’ve played by the rules, you’ve done everything asked of you.

And then this powerful, wealthy person is heard making these comments? In 2014?

You’d be pretty disgusted. And angry.

Rightly so.

There are too many conservatives – not all and not the majority – who I think are too dismissive of how these comments and views are seen and heard among black Americans.

SteveMG on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

I couldn’t care less what this guy said in a private phone call.

bluegill on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

It sounds as if this is a little more severe than Kramer’s being banned from Joe’s Fruit Market.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ6e9siQyrY

BuckeyeSam on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Pillow talk isn’t for the faint of heart.

butch on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Those of you who think this is overreaction or absurd, think on this. How on earth can a black person, or any minority, work for him? How can black players play for him? How can black fans pay ticket money to him?

He has to go.

Nessuno on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Agreed, that’s his problem…it would be the market reacting to what he said on the tape. That’s different from an enterprise punishing him for said speech by telling him he can’t run his business and, oh, they might just take it form him too. All due to words said in a private conversation with someone who had an axe to grind.

changer1701 on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Some of you people are either flat-out bigots or delusional.

It’s not your sport. You got nothing to do with it. So you do not care what the impact would be. But you’d be the first ones disgusted when the Muslims and Chinese step in and buy all the floundering teams.

This is not about free speech or ownership rights. He bought into a group. He has done everything possible to not conduct himself in manner to abide by the contract of that group. He’s refused to sell and threatened to sue, even though he’s business was dragging the league down for decades.

Sterling ran his team like a slum-lord and should have been ejected in the 80′s. I hope former players file a civil suit.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Not defending this liberal democrat at all but this punishment is way over the top..hello commissioner, freedom of speech!

sadsushi on April 29, 2014 at 2:49 PM

*Sigh*

Freedom of speech means the government can’t punish you for your speech. In the private sector, there can be consequences for that speech. Try telling your boss that he’s a turd and then tell him he can’t fire you.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

The person that told/paid Ms. Stiviano to record Sterling will probably gain control of the Clippers now.

faraway on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Bad remarks from a miscreant (corrupt attorney/landlord, racist, adulterer).

Worse punishment (severely hypocritical and abuse of discretion).

By the way, April 26 was his 80th birthday, if Wikipedia is correct. Heck of a way to observe that milestone, Donnie.

22044 on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Stay out of our bedrooms, righties.

rogerb on April 29, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Sterling/Silver 2016

pain train on April 29, 2014 at 2:56 PM

See, we haven’t made any progress on racism in America when an 80+ year old billionaire says racist stuff to his black/hispanic girlfriend in private!

/libtards

gwelf on April 29, 2014 at 2:56 PM

For all of those applauding this action–are you nuts? This is horrifying. I don’t like Sterling or his racism; but heck, my grandpa said stuff like that all the time. Now its practically a criminal offense. And we all know that the left is agitating to criminalize speech that “dissents” from things like global warming (they really are trying to make it illegal to speak against it) to “homophobia” which means “you cannot read the Bible) and they want to force you to do business with them and throw you in jail if you don’t–ask any wedding bakery.

This is just a large step on the “We will have orthodox leftist thought, right now, with no dissent. Kiss the 1st Amendment goodbye!”

You had better believe it: as Brandon Eich found out, being a Christian will very soon be a firing offense.

Vanceone on April 29, 2014 at 2:56 PM

SteveMG on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

I came of age a white(then Jewish) girl in Nation of Islam territory.
Yes Virginia-blacks can be quite racist.

annoyinglittletwerp on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

I wish I could save every single one of the comments here that say thought police, extortion and bring them back at a later time. Oh gosh I wish.

Because I know, like I know the sun will rise tomorrow, that if some other guy was talking smack about a group of people that is loved and cherish by some of you, you would want his head on a silver platter.

coolrepublica on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Keep that thought in mind when voicing opposition to homosexual marriage, gun control, global warming, euthanasia, etc. gets pushed into “the shadows.”
dreadnought62 on April 29, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Exactly.

bluegill on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

There are too many conservatives – not all and not the majority – who I think are too dismissive of how these comments and views are seen and heard among black Americans.
SteveMG on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

And when John Kerry is held to the same standard (and he should be held to a higher standard because he’s a government official) then you have a point.

Make no mistake this is hysterical mob rule.

Skywise on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Even Amtrak — whose sponsorship run finished a few weeks ago but had considered re-engaging — says those plans are now derailed.

Please, Ed. Have some self-respect.

Missy on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

In these days of equality for all, every NBA team should be made up of 11 white players, 2 black, 1 Chinese and 1 Mexican. How is that for equality.

rjoco1 on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

When Donald Sterling and his considerable resources prove the set up, meaning the plant of the gold digging bimbo who recorded his private conversation for the purpose of forcing him to sell his team to Magic Johnson, the legal battle that will follow will destroy this league, and good riddance to a fixed and not very entertaining sport. Remember, this is the league that has already had a referee admit to fixing games in order to repay bookies to whom he owed money.

Sterling’s personal wealth, outside of the Clippers is beyond that held by the likes of all but George Soros, and there are a lot of people who owe him favors under the table I’m sure. Don’t expect this man to just slink away quietly or peacefully. The Quid Pro Quo here is not exactly rocket surgery to spot, and I’m willing to bet that a man who’s net worth is some sizable portion of a Trillion Bones probably has one or two top notch private dicks on the payroll. The Commissioner of the NBA probably feels like he’s one of the alpha dogs, simply because some the actual alphas in the room let him run their fun on the weekend business for them, but he’s just poked a bear with a pointy stick.

Flyovercountry on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Oh one more thing, are NBA players held to this same standard….?? So things they say in private or on the court to other players or in music or the like, that can get you banned now too??

Tom66 on April 29, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Well, you had a player choke his coach years ago…he was still playing in the league afterward. (ranted, the collective bargaining agreement with the players may have prevented harsher punishment, but…)

changer1701 on April 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

The thing is, it’s not just about him. These “private” statements impacted the team, and all the businesses associated with it, not just emotionally but, without this swift action, financially as well. And they did nothing wrong. The sponsors had already pulled out, to let him be would have been a disaster.

And it’s not like he innocently said some remarks that were “misunderstood” or not out of character for him. He’s well known for these views. But having it “out there” now can not stand.

I don’t consider this a “free speech” issue any more than I did when the Nazis marched in Skokie in 1978.

ncinca on April 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Ed puts it quite well (as does Wehner): Imagine that you’re a black man who fought in Afghanistan. Or has served the country in another capacity.

You’ve worked hard, you’ve played by the rules, you’ve done everything asked of you.

And then this powerful, wealthy person is heard making these comments? In 2014?

You’d be pretty disgusted. And angry.

Rightly so.

There are too many conservatives – not all and not the majority – who I think are too dismissive of how these comments and views are seen and heard among black Americans.

SteveMG on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Holder and Obama have done much worse things.

Just look at the new black panther voting intimidation case.

the_nile on April 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

There are too many conservatives – not all and not the majority – who I think are too dismissive of how these comments and views are seen and heard among black Americans.

SteveMG on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Maybe so, but we never hear that when the roles are reversed.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

The NBA owners just put a big target on each others back.

rik on April 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

So what a person says in private is now grounds for legal action by an organization?

Let’s talk to Charles Barkley about his statements, publicly, regarding the use of the racial slur ‘n****r’. He said openly that it’s fine for black people to use it, ‘my friends use it all day long’… but not white people, and that white people who did use it would realize they’d made a mistake when they got ‘clocked up side the head’. Mr. Barkley was never censured for his views by the NBA or anyone else.

Mr. Sterling should sue. It’s not illegal to be a racist, as evinced by Charles Barkley’s statement. It’s only illegal to act as a racist and discriminate based on race. Mr. Sterling made some very offensive remarks but he made them in private and he, to the best of my knowledge thus far, didn’t commit any crime related to that racism.

thatsafactjack on April 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Well, if Sterling can afford it and doesn’t want to sell, he could hire the worst coach in basketball; assemble an all white team with no players over 5’8″ and who can’t jump; and continue to play in the NBA. He could then sit back and watch the fun. Doesn’t basketball need a little diversity?

iamsaved on April 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

How many different languages do you want me to tell you what an asshole you are.

celtic warrior on April 29, 2014 at 2:58 PM

So you own the team but you can’t be involved in any of its business dealings. Ummm kay. Sure.

Galtian on April 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM

I would like to see the language of the “detrimental conduct” clause of Sterling’s franchise agreement. If it’s the typical vague language you generally see then Sterling probably has a strong lawsuit and this won’t stick. The NBA probably doesn’t care if they can make this stick, they are playing a PR game at this point.

tommyboy on April 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM

This is not about free speech or ownership rights. He bought into a group. He has done everything possible to not conduct himself in manner to abide by the contract of that group. He’s refused to sell and threatened to sue, even though he’s business was dragging the league down for decades.

Sterling ran his team like a slum-lord and should have been ejected in the 80′s. I hope former players file a civil suit.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

If these are the real reasons, why weren’t the real reasons addressed?

rhombus on April 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Even Amtrak — whose sponsorship run finished a few weeks ago but had considered re-engaging — says those plans are now derailed.

Please, Ed. Have some self-respect.

Missy on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

That was funny.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Can we call this the Sterling-Silver decision?

airupthere on April 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will cost you 2.5 Million and your basketball team in 2014.

Deano1952 on April 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Ed puts it quite well (as does Wehner): Imagine that you’re a black man who fought in Afghanistan. Or has served the country in another capacity.

You’ve worked hard, you’ve played by the rules, you’ve done everything asked of you.

And then this powerful, wealthy person is heard making these comments? In 2014?

You’d be pretty disgusted. And angry.

Rightly so.

There are too many conservatives – not all and not the majority – who I think are too dismissive of how these comments and views are seen and heard among black Americans.

SteveMG on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

And the supposed solution is? $2.5 million dollar fine? Being stripped of his property (the team)?

When’s the first jail sentence? Oh wait, that one guy already went to jail for making a video.

This is supposed to be the United States of America.

Missy on April 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Guy is a registered Republican in California.

Freedom of Speech is a right that people have to not be restricted in speech by the federal government.

Nothing to do with cultural norms and so forth.

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 2:51 PM

LA Times article not withstanding, he is a Democrat and has only given money to Democrats. He has never contributed to any Republican no matter how the LA times wants to paint his 1998 voting registration.

He has never given a dime to any Republican.

Johnnyreb on April 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

The floodgates are open now! Every owner in every major sport is now going to be vilified for any statement made past, present, and future. And the PC police are on the hunt for their next victim. It won’t matter is you said it 20 years ago or not. It might not even matter if you actually said it.

uncle jj on April 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

There are too many conservatives – not all and not the majority – who I think are too dismissive of how these comments and views are seen and heard among black Americans.

SteveMG on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Y’know that may be a two way street. I’ll bet there are some powerful black figures who do the same thing. Google up Detroit mayors like Coleman Young or Chicago’s Rev. J. Wright

butch on April 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

coolrepublica on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Because we all know if he was a homosexual and the group was the boyscouts you’d be all for it…

Skywise on April 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

If Chase bank is closing porn stars accounts because of image issues; will any financial institution participate in enriching Donald Sterling or in fact do any business with this racist. Which bank wants to have Rev AL calling them the Bank of Racism?

meci on April 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Sterling ran his team like a slum-lord and should have been ejected in the 80′s. I hope former players file a civil suit.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

They gonna give the money back they were paid?

Vince on April 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Not sure why anyone on here is defending him

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 2:50 PM

I just checked all of the posts before yours in this thread, and saw absolutely no posts defending Sterling.

Can I have some of what you’re smoking?

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Can we call this the Sterling-Silver decision?

airupthere on April 29, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Sterling Silver Johnson

faraway on April 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

You can now have your private property rights stripped from you for thought crimes. 1984 has arrived.

More disgusting than the comments that started all of this.

Welcome to Amerika.

Exninja on April 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Some of you people are either flat-out bigots or delusional.

It’s not your sport. You got nothing to do with it. So you do not care what the impact would be. But you’d be the first ones disgusted when the Muslims and Chinese step in and buy all the floundering teams.

This is not about free speech or ownership rights. He bought into a group. He has done everything possible to not conduct himself in manner to abide by the contract of that group. He’s refused to sell and threatened to sue, even though he’s business was dragging the league down for decades.

Sterling ran his team like a slum-lord and should have been ejected in the 80′s. I hope former players file a civil suit.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Agreed.

If this all took place prior to last year, when the Clippers were still the doormat of the league, this would have passed with little commotion.

It’s just that the team is finally in the middle of a playoff run, and was the beneficiary of attention by NBA followers because the Lakers – the glitz and glamor team of the NBA since the Cretaceous Period – had their worst season in decades (sacrificing their season for a draft lottery pick).

THAT’S why this blew up the way it did.

Myron Falwell on April 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

There are too many conservatives – not all and not the majority – who I think are too dismissive of how these comments and views are seen and heard among black Americans.

SteveMG on April 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM

They’re beyond uniformed. They haven’t read one-linked article. They don’t care because they don’t like the NBA, because it’s a predominantly black league that openly supports Barry.

It’s the undercurrent of bigotry that Bundy flows from. Not racism. Bigotry.

I have more respect for the people who argue that the players still made millions, so wtf are they complaining about now. But even then, you have to be a real misanthrope to not comprehend what it must be like to work for a guy who thinks you’re near subhuman.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Magic Johnson is really gonna get a good deal for the Clippers, isn’t he?

steebo77 on April 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Imagine how many bigots the NSA could track down and humiliate. Just imagine. And don’t forget the homophobes!

Hillary 2016.

rhombus on April 29, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Just remember, Sterling is a Liberal Jewish Democrat who was praised by the NAACP.

sentinelrules on April 29, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Those of you who think this is overreaction or absurd, think on this. How on earth can a black person, or any minority, work for him? How can black players play for him? How can black fans pay ticket money to him?

Nessuno on April 29, 2014 at 2:48 PM

The NBA is a private entity and is free to police its owners, coaches, staffers, and players any way it sees fit. However, what many of us here are raising the red flag on is this rending of clothes, gnashing of teeth and pouring of ashes on the head about racism.

I will say it: As an individual I am free to hate any one I want for any reason I want. Don’t like it? Too f-ing bad. But I’m not allowed to punch anyone, spit on anyone, destroy their property, etc. But I also don’t have to invite them into my home or have drinks with them.

Is it good that we got the government out of the business of discriminating against someone because of his race? Damn straight it is.

However, we’ve now crossed over into the realm of thought crime. How can this possibly be a good idea to have an avowed goal of “an end to racism in the hearts of all Americans in our lifetime”? How can this end well? How soon until we see cases in divorce court where one spouse records another in an unguarded moment and racism is used as an excuse to revoke child custody?

And once we do excise the cancer of racism from the heart of every American, what social pathology shall we cure next? The unreasonable belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman? The willful blindness that denies the climate is changing about us?

Sterling is a POS, possibly the worst owner in the history of organized sports, and perhaps this is a case of bad cases making bad law, but all of us here should be alert to the twin related dangers of our diminishing privacy and the erosion of freedom of conscience (positive and negative).

dreadnought62 on April 29, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Reparations?

faraway on April 29, 2014 at 3:03 PM

I just checked all of the posts before yours in this thread, and saw absolutely no posts defending Sterling.

Can I have some of what you’re smoking?

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Other threads and so forth, but if you’re serious, contact me in 11 weeks.

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 3:03 PM

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