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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I am now boycotting the NBA.

This is insane. The man committed no crime. He did nothing wrong. He is being punished for a social view.

How can any normal thinking person agree to punish someone for merely having an opinion.

This is truly frightening.

HugoDrax on April 29, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Sacramento on April 29, 2014 at 3:25 PM

So the history of womanizing and adultery don’t detract from his ‘star quality’?

thatsafactjack on April 29, 2014 at 3:27 PM

This is chilling.

TinFin on April 29, 2014 at 3:20 PM

What, from owning a sports team? Nah…

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:27 PM

It’s time to ban Shaquille O’Neal for life as well …

Shaquille O’Neal cyberbullying disabled man:

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Sports/2014/04/29/Shaquille-O-Neal-Criticized-for-Mocking-Disabled-Man-s-Selfie

Pork-Chop on April 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Maybe the highly secretive league constition will be publicly revealed by Sterling as a retaliation effort?

Kokonut on April 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

coolrepublica on April 29, 2014 at 2:57 PM

You will just rattle on for pages talking about unrelated hypotheticals, and then when you PROVE THE OPPONENTS view point claim victory. You sound just like Obama.

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Who has the 600 million to buy the team? Are the other ‘owners’ going to buy the team? Owning a major sports’ team is a rich man hobby.

I’m sure the other owners are shaking in their boots wondering who has them on tape saying something that could be politically incorrect or god forbid ‘racist’

Opening this can of worms will not end well. And I cut off the NBA years ago, who watches that crap anyway?

College sports is still fun to follow and watch…for now, that is subject to change in the future

Redford on April 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Maybe he could sell the team to Rush Limbaugh.

uncle jj on April 29, 2014 at 3:03 PM

That would be an insult to El Rushbo.

Myron Falwell on April 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Hopefully, someone will come forward and reveal Silver’s own offensive, private statements, and he will be forced out ASAP.

Then he can hang out with Sterling.

Christien on April 29, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Haven’t been following the NBA much at all this year (my Celtics broke up their team, and their coach went to…) so I wasn’t ip to speed on Silver.

But I just did some research on him-he’s a New York lawyer (Knicks fan, of course) and he clerked for the infamous Kimba Wood, who would later be Bill Clinton’s ill-fated second choice to be Attorney General after his first choice experienced a Nanny-Gate episode.

Only problem was Kimba Wood had her own Nanny-Gate problem too! That left us with Janet Reno.

Pretty sure Silver is no Republican…

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

No.

NBA isn’t government. Private actors get to choose who they want to associate with, whether y’all like it or not. That’s what a free society requires.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:07 PM

This, basically. This guy isn’t the CEO of Mozilla; he has a history of racist comments and what he was caught saying on tape isn’t something innocent that was taken out of context. He’s a private citizen in a league made up of other private citizens that decided to punish him for what he said. They’re well within their right to do that. You can disagree with the punishment, personally I think a lifetime ban is a bit much but whatever, but we should be happy that it’s the market that’s going to decide the fate of his ownership in the end, not government intervention.

This is the system working, guys, as conservatives we should be happy about that, at least.

Cyhort on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

But sports teams aren’t your typical private oganizations. Many have been protected from competition by antitrust exemptions. They build their stadius and facilities with largely public money.

Good Solid B-Plus on April 29, 2014 at 3:25 PM

Excellent argument for getting public money out of sports. I’m OK with that. These folks aren’t paupers, they can pay their own way.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Yep; this is the foot in the door. Next comes anything bad said about homosexuals.

slickwillie2001 on April 29, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Did you just return from Mars? Both of those feet have been in the door for a long time.

KS Rex on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

THIS is the thread Libfree has been waiting for!!!

ToddPA on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Is there no rehabilitation for this crime, no penance. He gets life with no parole. What if he said I’m sorry and I’m gay?

jmtham156 on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Thought Police, Extortion Division.
Bat Chain Puller on April 29, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Man, you ain’t a kidding. The racism is one thing, but this is quite another. Wow.

Cleombrotus on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

The lawyers will have a field day with this.

Another Drew on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

This is the system working, guys, as conservatives we should be happy about that, at least.

Cyhort on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

I’m certainly OK with this. But then, it could be because I’m more a libertarian than anything else.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

That could be the case if sterling sues and uses the league constitution as part of the court proceeding.

Kokonut on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Someone posted a leaked, private email from current Clipper JJ Redick-he of the infamous abortion contract fame-using racist terms when talking about a gf. I assume he won’t play another game in the league?

changer1701 on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Uh… you could have said that when Jimmy The Greek got deep-sixed by CBS in 1988. This is hardly a new situation.
Myron Falwell on April 29, 2014 at 3:24 PM

There’s a big difference between statements made to a TV reporter and private conversations. Big difference.

tommyboy on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 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

Fine, so let the market decide. Don’t you dare utter something the thought police deem improper, though.

TinFin on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Slate compared Donald Sterling and Brendan Eich in a way that I think is appropriate here.

Public anger in this case is far more justified than in Eich’s case. One appears to reject a group of people, while the other appears to reject an arrangement of people. I think these are very different things.

That being said, the penalty on Sterling still seems heavy-handed.

LancerDL on April 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Well, according to the NBA, A person’s personal thoughts and feelings have to conform to their views on freedom of speech. Any American who continues to support the NBA after today, deserves what looms in the future when YOUR constitutionally protected rights are stripped without any due process or rule of law…Ashamed to be an American today…(I moved this post over here from the other thread, as I had just made it and it needs to be expressed here, IMHO)—Joe

bimmcorp on April 29, 2014 at 3:09 PM

Freedom of speech in the Constitution only applies to governments and government actions. They’re not involved in this situation.

jim56 on April 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

This ain’t about freedom. This is about private actors handling their business how they see fit. End of story.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:15 PM

That apply to Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A as well, Pal??

bimmcorp on April 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Wait until espousing your fondness for the Tea Party, hating the IRS, or calling a liberal a “fascist” gets you fired, or worse, becomes a reason to strip you of your property and/or livelihood.

What most seem to miss is how this feeding frenzy is about crushing not only free speech, but FREE THOUGHT. We are witnessing descent into dystopia.

Also, why does this tape come out now? Who wants to get his mitts on this team? What about previously non-pc or racist things this guy might have said in the past?

MistyLane on April 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

We’re living in a Brave New World. And Big Brother is watching.

Ruckus_Tom on April 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Cyhort on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

So that the private conversation was garnered through illegal means isn’t an issue for you at all?

You’d be fine with people taping and monitoring all of your personal conversations and communications and then depriving you of your livelihood if they heard or saw something they didn’t like…even if what ever it was that they didn’t like wasn’t illegal?

thatsafactjack on April 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM

I’m glad he was fired and fined, but not for his alleged racism. His remarks and actions are NOT clearly racist. The emphasis of his tirade against his girlfriend/mistress weren’t about race, or even seeing other peope, but her BROADCASTING her other relationships to the world, such as bringing Magic Johnson to the games, taking photos with Magic, etc. He wasn’t being jealous even. He thought it made him look like a schmuck. Ironic, that, but still…

RockinRickOwen on April 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM

WTF are you babbling about? For one thing, the Clippers haven’t been dragging the league down…when they sucked, they sucked.

Yes, they were. The league considered dissolving the Clippers on three different occassions because they weren’t competitive, weren’t selling seats and weren’t willing to move. Sterling constantly threatened to sue the league, which is why nothing was done.

The rest of the league was fine, and remains so.

No, it’s not. The smaller market teams were barely surviving until profit-sharing was reworked for the TV contracts and they’re going into another lockout come 2015

The Chinese and Muslims (again, wtf) don’t have to buy teams, because there are Americans willing to overpay for even the crappiest of teams in order to get into the league. That shows its success.

The Chinese already have money in and out of a handful of teams. Prokhorov bought and moved the Nets because nobody was willing to make the financial commitment to Brooklyn or New Jersey.

Those that have a problem with the punishment don’t like the idea of speech and thought being punished. It is a very slippery slope, as we’ve seen.

changer1701 on April 29, 2014 at 3:04 PM

No, it’s not. It’s the excuse.

No one here can explain why Sterling, who saw black people as a class below, was hellbent on keeping an NBA team. He fought to keep that team and then he refused moves to make them competitive.

He wanted the team for reasons that had nothing to do with running an NBA franchise, and some of you think that’s fine because you don’t give a damn about the game or the league. So when he’s finally nailed, it becomes a speech issue because of the side Barry and the media fall on.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM

This, basically. This guy isn’t the CEO of Mozilla; he has a history of racist comments and what he was caught saying on tape isn’t something innocent that was taken out of context. He’s a private citizen in a league made up of other private citizens that decided to punish him for what he said. They’re well within their right to do that. You can disagree with the punishment, personally I think a lifetime ban is a bit much but whatever, but we should be happy that it’s the market that’s going to decide the fate of his ownership in the end, not government intervention.

This is the system working, guys, as conservatives we should be happy about that, at least.

Cyhort on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

I have to admit that many on here are missing the irony.

They’re outraged that Sterling got banned for what he said, but root for the banhammer when a troll says soemthing they find offensive.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM

THIS is the thread Libfree has been waiting for!!!

ToddPA on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

^ Laughed out loud at this. :)

Axe on April 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM

This is the system working, guys, as conservatives we should be happy about that, at least.

Cyhort on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Are you prepared to be fired and punished for anything you’ve said in private, or for any donations that the Group finds problematic?

changer1701 on April 29, 2014 at 3:33 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

According to our race expert Coolrepublica, he has been a racist for YEARS. Based on her contentions, he was fined for racism or something, and runs his team like a plantation. So basically black people have been working for the racist for years, and having no qualms about making 16 mil a year. Why do you suddenly think a private conversation would change that?

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Consider the source, but most of you remember Latrel Sprewell. While this did not directly involve racial comments, it is interesting to note the contrast since he physically assaulted multiple people over a period of years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latrell_Sprewell

Though a four-time All-Star, a significant mark on Sprewell’s career was an incident which took place on December 1, 1997, when he attacked head coach P. J. Carlesimo during a Warriors practice. When Carlesimo yelled at Sprewell to make crisper passes (specifically asking him to “put a little mustard” on a pass[2]), Sprewell responded that he was not in the mood for criticism and told the coach to keep his distance. When Carlesimo approached, Sprewell threatened to kill him and dragged him backwards by his throat, choking him for 7–10 seconds before his teammates and assistant coaches pulled Sprewell off his coach. Sprewell returned about 20 minutes later after showering and changing and again accosted Carlesimo. He landed a glancing blow at Carlesimo’s right cheek before being dragged away again by the assistant coaches. It was not his first violent incident with the Warriors; in 1995, Sprewell fought with teammate Jerome Kersey and returned to practice carrying a two-by-four, and reportedly threatened to return with a gun.[3] In a 1993 practice, Sprewell fought with Byron Houston, who was 50 pounds heavier than Sprewell and had what many teammates describe as having a Mike Tyson-like demeanor and physique.[4]

Sprewell was suspended for 10 games without pay. The next day, in the wake of a public uproar, the Warriors voided the remainder of his contract, which included $23.7 million over three years, and the NBA suspended him for one year. Sprewell took the case to arbitration, and, as a result, the contract voiding was overturned and the league suspension was reduced to the remaining 68 games of the season. He sought to vacate the arbitration contract under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. His case went through all appeals, and was remanded. During his suspension, Sprewell was charged with reckless driving for his role in a 90 mph accident that injured two people, and spent three months under house arrest as part of a no-contest plea.

airupthere on April 29, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Yes, he donated to Brady and Moonbeam I believe. Not very much money from what I recall, but it really doesn’t matter.

Not a smart move to try and paint him as a Democrat. What’s the advantage there? So that someone can say, “look, the Dems actually walked the walk and took out a jerk in their midst.” Totally not hypocritical.

It was foolish to jump and say he was a Dem only for official records to come back stating he registered Republican or even make it about R vs D at all.

All the Republicans had to do was say this guy is a turd and move on. But nope!

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 3:13 PM

No, he donated to Patrick Leahey, Bill Bradley, and Gray Davis (not Moonbeam).

As to your second paragraph, he has exclusively donated to Democrats in the past. Pointing that out isn’t “painting him as a democrat”, it’s simply reciting facts. But it’s interesting to note that the Democrats ignored his racism for years and happily accepted his money, and also inconvenient for the Democrats that records show he’s never donated to Republicans.

Keep shovelin’

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 3:33 PM

I am now boycotting the NBA.

This is insane. The man committed no crime. He did nothing wrong. He is being punished for a social view.

How can any normal thinking person agree to punish someone for merely having an opinion.

This is truly frightening.

HugoDrax on April 29, 2014 at 3:26 PM

He did nothing wrong?? You don’t know Donald Sterling, then. He may not have committed a crime, but to say that he’s never done any wrong is just, well, wrong.

besides, it’s perfectly OK for private organizations from taking perfectly legal actions against jerks like this guy.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:34 PM

This is the system working, guys, as conservatives we should be happy about that, at least.

Cyhort on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Are you prepared to be fired and punished for anything you’ve said in private, or for any donations that the Group finds problematic?

changer1701 on April 29, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Yeah, what if someone found something nasty you put on Hotair, and linked your name to it- then sent it to your employer?

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 3:34 PM

That apply to Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A as well, Pal??

bimmcorp on April 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Obviously not. The government is doing the coercing to Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A (on a local level).

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Who has the 600 million to buy the team? Are the other ‘owners’ going to buy the team? Owning a major sports’ team is a rich man hobby.

Redford on April 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Magic Johnson and his investor groups can afford the Clippers. It’s important to note that he was part of a venture that recently sold off two radio stations in NYC for $130M.

Myron Falwell on April 29, 2014 at 3:34 PM

All the Republicans had to do was say this guy is a turd and move on. But nope!

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Why?

Sterling is a Jewish Democrat.

sentinelrules on April 29, 2014 at 3:14 PM

“But he’s a registered Republican! Wah!”

So is Colon Powell!

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 3:35 PM

I have to admit that many on here are missing the irony.

They’re outraged that Sterling got banned for what he said, but root for the banhammer when a troll says soemthing they find offensive.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Well, I suspect hypocrisy. But nobody’s perfect.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Freedom of speech in the Constitution only applies to governments and government actions. They’re not involved in this situation.
jim56 on April 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

That depends on the language of his franchise agreement. Because property and contract rights are clearly involved here.

tommyboy on April 29, 2014 at 3:35 PM

What if Donald Sterling was a young man when he made this stupid statement. Would he be banned for life? There are murderers who are let loose after serving only 15 years.

birdwatcher on April 29, 2014 at 3:35 PM

What I find funny is how the NAACP was about to give him a award…why?

He was a big donor to the Democrats. This once again proves that if you support the Democrats you can be a racist, just like you can molest women, all you want as long as you do it on the down low.

The only thing that got Sterling in trouble was he got played by his gold digger mistress in such a open way and the story broke on a slow news day so there was no way to ignore it.

He has a right to free speech, but he made his bed and he should sleep in it. I don’t associate with leftist, or communists, or any of the elite of the Hollywood aristocracy like Sterling did. I don’t depend on them for money, or resources, or have multiple mentally challenged bimbos I need to keep happy..etc.

If you believe in freedom you should not be handing out cash and supporting those that are against freedom. To me this is just one old aristocratic elite geezer getting capped by a bunch of other aristocratic elites for breaking some heretical rule of their own club.

Libertarians and conservatives should not get too bent out of shape over it. Just like I don’t get worried about pirated Hollywood movies in China, or increasing taxes on things the left likes, such as, “green energy,” or Hollywood production studios, etc.

Personally I think the GOP should not say no to all tax increases. I have absolutely no problem raising taxes on things the leftist love…that means less money for them to use against us, and of course lower taxes on those things we love. That is how the game is played…and frankly any other position is ivory tower bs.

William Eaton on April 29, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Uh… you could have said that when Jimmy The Greek got deep-sixed by CBS in 1988. This is hardly a new situation.

Myron Falwell on April 29, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Jimmy the Greek made comments on the record to a reporter in an interview. Not the same.

People get fired all the time for saying stupid stuff in public. But not so often do they get fired for what they said to a private individual in a private conversation that was recorded w/o their knowledge or consent.

Missy on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Good thing JZ sold his ownership before this happened to him.

Rancher on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Does it make sense to say “I don’t feel any sympathy for the bastard at all” AND “I think the overreaction is obscene”? Seriously, it’s like watching the Ku Klux Klan getting nuked on American soil by the Russian Army under Vladimir Putin.

Aitch748 on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

This is crazy. Absolute fascism in action. Now if we come up with a mind reading machine (instead of illegally obtained tapes) we can start levying fines, penalties and even jail sentences for hate crimes which haven’t even been committed yet. And since when, in a private conversation, can’t somebody express his feelings? If we sent blacks to jail every time they use the word “cracker”, half the black population would be sent up the river tonight.

Racism is bad but one-sided racism is intolerable. Among prominent black figures who made far more provocative statements than Sterling:

Samuel L Jackson
Van Jones
Eric Holder
Harry Belafonte
Spike Lee
Ad nauseam

In my opinion these black idiots have the right to say egregious things without punishment. Why can’t a white idiot like Sterling?

MaiDee on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

I am now boycotting the NBA.

HugoDrax on April 29, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Oh nooooos! They’re really going to miss the racist sympathizers who never went to a game in their life.

How will the NBA survive?

Skipity on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Excellent argument for getting public money out of sports. I’m OK with that. These folks aren’t paupers, they can pay their own way.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Okay, but until that happens, you can’t just say “Oh well, private organizations can do what they please.”

There’s also the manner of tourism and civic pride. City councils and tourism boards often tout their sports teams as reasons to visit/live in a city. No one aays “Move to Chicago because Amco Steel and Ferguson Rubber have factories here!” But you do see ad campaigns about visiting/living in Chicago because of the Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks.

So you can’t treat a sports team like you treat a widget factory.

Good Solid B-Plus on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

The only reason that people care about this is because it involves a senile bigoted billionaire and a professional golddigger. It’s high stakes soap opera.

Outraged People , please stop pretending. So fake- pretending to be outraged over this old liberal drunk fool’s private rantings to his plotting mistress. I KNOW that no one is infantile enough to still get truly outraged over these PC non events. I KNOW that you need to prime yourself into it and still it’s not the real thing. It’s faux limpy outrage.
Because I know that you know , somewhere in your dense head, that
this is TMZ entertainment. It’s fun to watch sleazy people in action, sure, but this is not some important political/societal event. This is a distraction if anything from the real world NOT a reflection of the real world —Though, if you are an activist liberal/leftist like sterling, then , at least, his thought process is probably very familiar to you.

BoxHead1 on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

In the end only the lawyers win.

Iblis on April 29, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Liberal logic: YOUR RIGHTS END WHERE MY FEELINGS BEGIN!

Scottie on April 29, 2014 at 3:37 PM

This is the system working, guys, as conservatives we should be happy about that, at least.
Cyhort on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

I have no problem with the fine or the commission deciding punishment.

I have a problem with the commission issuing a lifetime ban on all games and forcing him to sell HIS team (he does own it) after only 48 hours and one tape.

It’s a lunch mob mentality. At least have the audacity to have a 60 day cool down period to give the appearance of rational discussion over what to do before crucifying him.
Alternatively have the board sell licenses for the teams instead of ownership so they can be revoked.
Or better yet let’s have the SEIU form an owners union… Then watch these idiots feed on themselves.

Skywise on April 29, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Step 1. Magic Johnson poses for snapshot with gold-digging chickie.
Step 2. Gold-digging chickie secretly tapes racist remarks of uber-rich, but moronic, boyfriend; she leaks tape to the press.
Step 3. Overreacting sports league forces boyfriend to sell his team.
Step 4. Magic Johnson expresses interest in buying said team.
Step 5. NBA, MSM, black persons, and liberals everywhere fail to connect the dots.

KS Rex on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Oh, and the thing about him being a registered R? Meaningless. I have a relative who’s a die hard communist but once registered and voted R just to vote in a primary against one of the R candidates. Money is how people show their loyalties.

clearbluesky on April 29, 2014 at 3:18 PM

I was a registered Republican in 1976. I voted for Jimmy Carter that year.

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

So that the private conversation was garnered through illegal means isn’t an issue for you at all?

You’d be fine with people taping and monitoring all of your personal conversations and communications and then depriving you of your livelihood if they heard or saw something they didn’t like…even if what ever it was that they didn’t like wasn’t illegal?

thatsafactjack on April 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM

In most states, only one of the parties to a conversation needs to know it’s being taped in order for the recording to be legal (California is different). So in 2/3rds of the US what you’re complaining about would be perfectly legal.

You have no protections in most cases against being fired for something you said or did inside or outside of work in the US.

jim56 on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I think he should be executed.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Who has the 600 million to buy the team? Are the other ‘owners’ going to buy the team? Owning a major sports’ team is a rich man hobby.

Redford on April 29, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Magic Johnson and his investor groups can afford the Clippers. It’s important to note that he was part of a venture that recently sold off two radio stations in NYC for $130M.

Myron Falwell on April 29, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Yep.

For a team in LA, he’ll have no problem finding a buyer. Now whether he gets his asking price is another thing.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Does it make sense to say “I don’t feel any sympathy for the bastard at all” AND “I think the overreaction is obscene”? Seriously, it’s like watching the Ku Klux Klan getting nuked on American soil by the Russian Army under Vladimir Putin.

Aitch748 on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

This ^^^

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I think he should be executed.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Yep, without due process, because we all know that racists don’t deserve legal and constitutional protections.

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

I wonder if, under that secret league constitution, if Sterling can terminate the franchise. Pay off or terminate all the contracts, let those who won’t cooperate just sit it out, sue the league and tie it up in court at least until Sterling dies of natural causes.

thatsafactjack on April 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

There’s a big difference between statements made to a TV reporter and private conversations. Big difference.

tommyboy on April 29, 2014 at 3:30 PM

TMZ has been in existence for, what, a decade? They pioneered the voyeuristic look at people that not only shatters privacy, but pulverizes it into a million billion pieces.

And especially in a city where famous and not-so-famous are probed endlessly by all the ne’er-do-wells of society, regardless of the motives, people like Sterling ought to know better in the first place.

Myron Falwell on April 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

He did nothing wrong?? You don’t know Donald Sterling, then.

He did nothing wrong. Speaking to your girlfriend is not a crime.
He is being punished for that conversation.

He is being punished for his views. Plain and simple.

It seems that the more “liberal” our values, the more fascist our society acts.

HugoDrax on April 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

We have become a nation of perpetually outraged Pu$$ies..

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

I think he should be executed.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

jmtham156 on April 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Does it make sense to say “I don’t feel any sympathy for the bastard at all” AND “I think the overreaction is obscene”? Seriously, it’s like watching the Ku Klux Klan getting nuked on American soil by the Russian Army under Vladimir Putin.

Aitch748 on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

Shut her down!!

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Yep.

For a team in LA, he’ll have no problem finding a buyer. Now whether he gets his asking price is another thing.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Can the league force him to sell to a black prospective owner?

If this dude is truly racist, the last thing he will do is sell his team to a black person.

airupthere on April 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

When I was young, people used to quote Voltaire quite often:

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

Not so much, anymore…

Fallon on April 29, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Freedom of speech in the Constitution only applies to governments and government actions. They’re not involved in this situation.
jim56 on April 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

That depends on the language of his franchise agreement. Because property and contract rights are clearly involved here.

tommyboy on April 29, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Agreed. But it sounds like the NBA has looked at the agreement and thinks it has a strong case. They probably have a “morals” clause in the franchise agreement.

jim56 on April 29, 2014 at 3:41 PM

I think he should be executed.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Rommel got the option of cyanide or a bullet.

jmtham156 on April 29, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Okay, but until that happens, you can’t just say “Oh well, private organizations can do what they please.”

There’s also the manner of tourism and civic pride. City councils and tourism boards often tout their sports teams as reasons to visit/live in a city. No one aays “Move to Chicago because Amco Steel and Ferguson Rubber have factories here!” But you do see ad campaigns about visiting/living in Chicago because of the Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks.

So you can’t treat a sports team like you treat a widget factory.

Good Solid B-Plus on April 29, 2014 at 3:36 PM

This only matters if the mere receipt of public funds means government endorsement of a particular belief/ideology/religion, etc. I don’t think that’s true, although as you can tell I have other reasons who being against public funds going to these rich sports owners.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:41 PM

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

rhombus on April 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM

It’s a chess game. If his family doesn’t get him to sell, if he decides to file suit, they’re going to open the closet.

Sterling could loose tens of millions to former players, executives, etc…

There’s more dirt on this guy than a mountain.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 3:42 PM

The thought police strike again. Be careful, Magic and Barkley, that you don’t start talking smack about whitey and the white devil.

John the Libertarian on April 29, 2014 at 3:42 PM

A few years back Isaiah Thomas was found guilty in court of sexually harrassing a Knicks employee who eventually lost her job despite years of good reviews. The court gave her $11.9 million but the Knicks “settled” for $11.8. My question is why is Isaiah still allowed in the league? Where is the outrage? Is there a place in the league for bad actions but no place for bad thoughts?

akellett on April 29, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Step 5. NBA, MSM, black persons, and liberals everywhere fail to connect the dots.

KS Rex on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Wow, I didn’t even realize this yet. And Magic already was part of the group that bought the Dodgers. Now, during the Clippers best season ever, we get a manufactured crisis to force Sterling to sell at presumably a bargain price.

Amazing that people won’t see the conniving going on, here. People have known Sterling was an *** for years, but the Clippers were a garbage franchise so no one was interested in forcing him to sell.

Good Solid B-Plus on April 29, 2014 at 3:43 PM

He did nothing wrong. Speaking to your girlfriend is not a crime.
He is being punished for that conversation.

He is being punished for his views. Plain and simple.

It seems that the more “liberal” our values, the more fascist our society acts.

HugoDrax on April 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Sounds like you’re conflating “illegal” with “wrong”. You can do that if you like, but I won’t.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Del Dolemonte on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Mr. Dolemonte… Your agonizer please…

Skywise on April 29, 2014 at 3:43 PM

Can the league force him to sell to a black prospective owner?

If this dude is truly racist, the last thing he will do is sell his team to a black person.

airupthere on April 29, 2014 at 3:40 PM

They can’t really force him to sell to a black buyer. They do get to approve who the final buyer is. Usually, that has to do with the financing aspect but, in the case of Rush Limbaugh, the NFL froze him out for who he is.

Bitter Clinger on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Wow!

Just wow!!

This man loses $1,000,000,000 worth of property just because he’s an @sshole?

Yikes…

Rick Perrys Parakeet on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Liberal logic: YOUR RIGHTS END WHERE MY FEELINGS BEGIN!

Scottie on April 29, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Good grief, this is professional basketball we’re talking here.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

This is the system working, guys, as conservatives we should be happy about that, at least.

Cyhort on April 29, 2014 at 3:29 PM

The end point of value-free libertarian reductionism. All hail “the market” even as it’s throwing people to the wolves.

vlad martel on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

I own a golf course and have a league there on. I don’t wish to ‘associate’ with black folk who say bad things about white folks. According to a lot of you guys, it’s cool if I keep ‘em off my course, amirite??

bimmcorp on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

I think he should be executed.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Chop off his limbs and head and send them to the four corners of the country as a warning.

John the Libertarian on April 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM

jim56 on April 29, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I lived in California for years, and continue to do business there. I understand the law in California better than most, particularly pertinent to business.

My question to the other poster was obviously a hypothetical. State law has nothing to do with whether he supports that kind of personal invasion and judgement if it’s applied to him.

thatsafactjack on April 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM

If he was Black and made anti-Semitic remarks would this have happened? No, Blacks can’t be racist.

Rancher on April 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Count me among those who see this, and other decisions by private organizations like this — Mozilla, e.g. — as the free market of ideas in action. The NBA clearly sees Sterling as a liability, as Mozilla saw Eich. They are perfectly free to maintain what they see as their brand integrity howsoever they choose.

Some ideas will grow your value in the public sphere; others will tank your brand. It’s not a free speech issue at all — he’s free to believe what he believes and give voice to it. And the public is free to reject those ideas. And corporations are free to cut ties as they see fit. It seems to adhere to conservative free market principal to me, and I’m not sure why more conservatives don’t see it this way.

CivilDiscourse on April 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM

I bet he has legal recourse, both against this ban and certainly against the person who taped the call

What a mess!

Rick Perrys Parakeet on April 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM

The end point of value-free libertarian reductionism. All hail “the market” even as it’s throwing people to the wolves.

vlad martel on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Calm down, lol!

No one’s being “thrown to the wolves.” At worst, some rich slum lord might get forced by his peers to sell a considerable asset for a hefty profit.

NorthernCross on April 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM

There’s more dirt on this guy than a mountain.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Yup, and there has been for years. What an amazing coincidence that people are suddenly interested in forcing him out now that the Clippers are playing their best basketball ever and have two marquee players under contract.

Good Solid B-Plus on April 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM

The Left won this war a long time when they got everybody to play by their rules. They got everybody to agree that certain thoughts, certain views, are in themselves, moral crimes. Therefore, any person who shares those views, is a moral criminal.

Once society goes down that road, this is what happens. And it will only get worse. It starts with “racism”. Then it is “homophobia”. Next it will be “climate change”.

Soon, laws will be written making it an actual criminal offense to have “racist” views.

Orwell predicted that this type of thing would happen in the future. Thought crimes. You can be punished just for your thoughts. Once the mouth reveals the thought, the person can then be punished.

HugoDrax on April 29, 2014 at 3:47 PM

They gonna give the money back they were paid?

Vince on April 29, 2014 at 3:01 PM

No. They’re going to get former personnel to go on record as to why they were traded, low-balled on contracts, shelved, etc…

It just came out today that he didn’t want his current off-guard because he thought paying 7 million for a white shooter was asinine.

Not the individual player’s stats. But because he was white.

Now, add-in thirty years of players and personnel, all the while he was making a profit on a team that everyone speculated was in permanent tank mode, so he could get high draft picks and pay them the lowest possible allowed by league guidelines.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Some ideas will grow your value in the public sphere; others will tank your brand. It’s not a free speech issue at all — he’s free to believe what he believes and give voice to it. And the public is free to reject those ideas. And corporations are free to cut ties as they see fit. It seems to adhere to conservative free market principal to me, and I’m not sure why more conservatives don’t see it this way.

CivilDiscourse on April 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM

I think that is the major flaw in your argument. His ‘ideas” weren’t in the public square. They were put there when he was illegally taped.

melle1228 on April 29, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Can we move on to more important things now?

On another note – boy the commish has big ears.

gophergirl on April 29, 2014 at 3:48 PM

CivilDiscourse on April 29, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Oh… So you support private golf courses then.

Skywise on April 29, 2014 at 3:48 PM

It’s really amazing to see so many people sympathizing with this PoS.

The left’s joke goes something like “The GOP: not all racists, but we’re sympathetic to racists.”

I used to find that joke offensive. After these threads, it doesn’t seem like I had a leg to stand on.

How hard is it to say “Yep, that’s racist. Yep it’s a private matter for the NBA.”?

Why opine and perpetrate the GOP = Racists stereotype?

Skipity on April 29, 2014 at 3:48 PM

No, it’s not. It’s the excuse.

No one here can explain why Sterling, who saw black people as a class below, was hellbent on keeping an NBA team. He fought to keep that team and then he refused moves to make them competitive.

He wanted the team for reasons that had nothing to do with running an NBA franchise, and some of you think that’s fine because you don’t give a damn about the game or the league. So when he’s finally nailed, it becomes a speech issue because of the side Barry and the media fall on.

budfox on April 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM

This is complete nonsense. It has nothing to do with Barry or the media, and everything to do with the idea that your very thoughts and opinions can lead to punishments such as these. No one is disputing that the man is an ahole and a horrible team owner.

And, once again, you have no idea what you’re talking about with respect to the league. T

changer1701 on April 29, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Wow!

Just wow!!

This man loses $1,000,000,000 worth of property just because he’s an @sshole?

Yikes…

Rick Perrys Parakeet on April 29, 2014 at 3:44 PM

$600 million, and he is being pressured to sell. He will keep all of the money, save for $2.5 million.

antisense on April 29, 2014 at 3:49 PM

No one’s being “thrown to the wolves.”

The hell they’re not.

vlad martel on April 29, 2014 at 3:49 PM

“This is the system working, guys, as conservatives we should be happy about that, at least.”

What, are you crazy or something? This is a set-up, man. Everyone had known for decades that the man was racist. Why does one secretly recorded private conversation made public cause such a feeding frenzy? This is a case if someone wanting that team. Sterling does not want to sell, so someone put this into motion. Did you see that the $2.5 million fine would go to “anti-discrimination groups”? Who do you think they are? Maybe Al Sharpton and JJ? Yeah, the system is working, alright, but not what conservatives should be happy about. You should be frightened at the implications. Whose next?

Techster64 on April 29, 2014 at 3:49 PM

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