NBA presses for Sterling’s removal as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers
Board of Governors need 75 per cent to expel Clippers owner
NEW YORK // The National Basketball Association (NBA) stepped up its drive to expel Donald Sterling as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, formally charging that his racist remarks damaged the league and paving the way for fellow team owners to decide his fate next month.
The league said Sterling has until Tuesday to respond to its charge and may present his side at a special hearing before the NBA Board of Governors on June 3, after which the league’s 29 other owners, who make up the board, could vote to remove him.
Sterling, 80, who has owned the Clippers for 33 years, came under fire more than three weeks ago when TMZ.com posted an audio recording of him berating a female friend for publicly associating with black people, including former NBA great Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
The recording sparked an uproar from fans, NBA players and commercial sponsors. The furore led NBA commissioner Adam Silver to ban Sterling for life from the NBA and to call on the other owners to force Sterling to relinquish team ownership.
Such an unprecedented move requires a 75 per cent vote of the board.
Sterling has refused to pay a US$2.5 million (Dh9.19m) fine levied against him by the league, and threatened through his attorney to take legal action against any forced sale of the Clippers.
Sterling has apologised in an interview to CNN for his “terrible mistake”.
He insisted he was “baited” into making provocative remarks and accused the media of inflaming his predicament.
But he stoked further outrage during the interview when he said that Johnson was a poor role model for children.
Sterling suggested that Johnson and other black people do little to support their communities, a comment the NBA cited in its notice on Monday.
In a summary of its charge against Sterling, the league said his conduct undermined the NBA’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion; damaged its relationship with fans; harmed other NBA owners, players and Clippers personnel; and impaired the league’s relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders.
The Clippers were eliminated from the second round of the NBA play-offs last Thursday by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Published: May 20, 2014 04:00 AM