NBA charges Clippers owner Donald Sterling, sets June 3 hearing


(Robyn Beck / Getty Images)

And so it has officially begun.

The NBA has initiated proceedings to take the Los Angeles Clippers from owner Donald Sterling. a move recommended by Commissioner Adam Silver when he handed down punishment for racist remarks the owner made April 26. It charged him officially with violating the constitution and by-laws, saying in a statement that he “engaged in conduct that has damaged and continues to damage the NBA and its teams. Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and ‘minorities'; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities.”

The NBA contends that “all of these acts” are grounds for termination under the league’s constitution and by-laws.

Sterling has until May 27 to respond and then has the right to appear and make a presentation at a special meeting of the Board of Governors, tentatively scheduled for June 3. After that, owners could vote to terminate his ownership of the team.

The NBA made the announcement in a statement Monday afternoon:

The NBA initiated a charge Monday seeking to terminate the ownership of Donald Sterling in the Los Angeles Clippers. If the NBA Board of Governors sustains the charge by a 3/4 vote, all ownership interests in the Clippers will be terminated and the team will be sold to new owners.

The NBA Constitution provides Mr. Sterling with the opportunity to respond to the charge by May 27, as well as the right to appear and make a presentation at a special meeting of the Board of Governors. This hearing, which is planned for June 3, will be presided over by NBA Board of Governors Chairman Glen Taylor, the controlling Governor of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The charge asserts that Mr. Sterling engaged in conduct that has damaged and continues to damage the NBA and its teams. Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and “minorities”; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities.

Mr. Sterling’s actions and positions significantly undermine the NBA’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion; damage the NBA’s relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA’s relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders. Mr. Sterling engaged in other misconduct as well, including issuing a false and misleading press statement about this matter.

All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA Constitution and related agreements.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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