[Marxism] N.B.A. Bars Clippers Owner Donald Sterling for Life

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Apr 29 14:02:03 MDT 2014


NY Times, April 29 2014
N.B.A. Bars Clippers Owner Donald Sterling for Life

Donald Sterling, the longtime owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, was 
barred from the N.B.A. for life and may be forced to sell the team for 
making racist remarks, the league commissioner, Adam Silver, announced 
Tuesday. Silver said that Sterling would be barred from any contact with 
his team and the league and that he would be fined $2.5 million, the 
maximum allowed by the league’s constitution.

“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” 
the commissioner said. “We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s 
views. They simply have no place in the N.B.A.”

The commissioner said Sterling, in an interview, had admitted to him 
that the racist remarks on a recording released last week by the website 
TMZ were his. He said he would “do everything in my power” to see that 
Sterling was forced to sell the Clippers. “I fully expect to get the 
support I need to remove him,” Silver said.

Before the announcement, Silver said, he discussed the decision with 
Coach Doc Rivers and guard Chris Paul of the Clippers. “I believe the 
players will be satisfied with the decision,” Silver said.

The commissioner’s announcement came at the conclusion of the league’s 
investigation, which started over the weekend after the recording was 
released and news of it spread. The ensuing outrage put tremendous 
pressure on Silver to act decisively.

After the announcement, the immediate reaction from players and owners 
supported Silver’s decision. James L. Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, 
was among those releasing statements. “This behavior has no place in 
basketball, or anywhere else,” Dolan said in a statement. “We as a 
league must stand together in condemning this ignorance.”

The Clippers quickly changed the home page of their website to contain 
only a team logo and the words, “We Are One.”

Magic Johnson, who found himself in the middle of the controversy when 
Sterling, on the tape, told a woman not to bring Johnson or other black 
men to Clippers games, responded immediately on Twitter:
Continue reading the main story

Owners, players and advertisers had been speaking out since the 
recording emerged, with players staging on-court protests and 
advertisers suspending or cutting ties with the team.

Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was among those 
cautioning the league to move carefully, calling it “a very, very 
slippery slope” when owners are disciplined for their words. But, after 
the decision, Cuban expressed full support of the move.

“What Donald said was wrong,” Cuban told reporters Tuesday. “It was 
abhorrent. There’s no place for racism in the N.B.A., any business I’m 
associated with, and I don’t want to be associated with people who have 
that position. But at the same time that’s a decision I make. I think 
you’ve got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket 
statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. 
It’s a very, very slippery slope.”

Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, a former N.B.A. star who had called 
for the league to issue the maximum possible penalty against Sterling, 
expressed his unequivocal support of Silver’s move. “Adam Silver showed 
he is not just the owners’ commissioner. He is the players’ 
commissioner,” Johnson said in a news conference after Silver’s. “There 
will be zero tolerance for institutional racism, no matter how rich or 

At Johnson’s news conference, Roger Mason Jr., first vice president of 
the National Basketball Players Association, said the players were ready 
to discuss a boycott of games if Silver had not barred Sterling.

Sterling’s remarks were believed to be recorded by a woman identified as 
V. Stiviano, who has regularly been seen with him. In the recording, he 
asks her not to associate with black people and not to bring black 
people to Clippers games, and criticizes her for posing for photographs 
with black men, including Magic Johnson.

“Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have 
to call me,” Sterling said in the recording. “And don’t bring him to my 
games. Yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to promo, broadcast that 
you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?”

Before the penalties were handed down, Michael Jordan, a Hall of Fame 
player and an owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, said in a statement, 
“There is no room in the N.B.A. — or anywhere else — for this kind of 
racism and hatred.”

About 75 percent of the league’s players are black.

Sterling’s time as owner of the Clippers has been marked by player 
unrest, accusations of racism and sexism, and until the team began 
winning consistently three years ago, incompetent basketball management.

In his primary business, real estate, he was sued by the Justice 
Department in 2009 for driving minority families out of the apartment 
buildings he owned or refusing to rent to them. He paid a $2.725 million 

He was sued by his former general manager, Elgin Baylor, for age and 
race discrimination in 2009. In the suit, Baylor said that Sterling had 
a “pervasive and ongoing racist attitude” in negotiations with players 
and that his management was “a Southern plantation-type structure.” 
Baylor also quoted Sterling as saying, in contract negotiations with 
Danny Manning, “I’m offering you a lot of money for a poor black kid.” A 
jury sided with Sterling in 2011.

Mike Dunleavy also sued the team in 2010 for refusing to pay the balance 
of his contract after he was fired as coach and general manager. An 
arbitrator awarded him $13 million.

Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, recently sued Stiviano, seeking to recover 
$1.8 million in cash, property and cars.

The suits, combined with the Clippers’ long history of losing, had made 
Sterling and his team a punch line for most of his time as owner.

That tenure began in 1981 when he bought the San Diego Clippers at the 
encouragement of Jerry Buss, the Lakers’ owner at the time. Sterling had 
lent financial help, buying some apartment buildings from Buss, when 
Buss needed money to buy the Los Angeles Lakers and the Forum in 1979. 
But by 1984 Sterling had made a spectacle of himself by moving his 
franchise to Los Angeles without league approval.

For that, David Stern, then the N.B.A. commissioner, fined him $25 
million. Sterling sued the league for $100 million, prompting Stern to 
reduce the fine to $6 million.

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