Donald Sterling’s racist ranting and comments have stirred things up at the NBA, but according to current and past Clippers team members, he has been causing problems and being disrespectful for years.
Several former Clippers players have claimed that Sterling would often barge into their locker room and either degrade the players or make comments that made them feel uncomfortable. One former member even claimed that Sterling would tell his guests to look at the players’ ”beautiful black bodies.”
Sterling’s recent comments may have shocked many people, but not those associated with him through the NBA. Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor says that Sterling’s behavior is not out of the ordinary for him and that the NBA has let similar incidents slide on several occasions.
”It put a smile on my face that finally he would be unable to deny the racist allegations against him,” said Carl Douglas, a lawyer who represented former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor in a lawsuit against Sterling.
”This is a guy who, as the owner, sits courtside at the half-court line,” Douglas added. ”No other owner sits like that. He has an ego the size of the Grand Canyon.”
Justice may have finally been served by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who banned Sterling from the NBA for life and fined him the maximum $2.5 million. Many people are hoping that Sterling will have to sell his team, but Silver does not have the power to make him do so.
Other team owners will vote on the issue and if at least 75% agree he should sell the team, he will have to do so. Sterling likely won’t go down easily and could make things very complicated for the NBA by arguing that he was not the person heard on tape making the racist comments.
“The NBA must also be concerned about the possibility of Sterling suing the NBA and owners, such as for breach of the Clippers franchise agreement or for violations of federal and state antitrust law,” said Michael McCann, founding director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
“A potential antitrust claim by Sterling against the NBA would be that his competitors (other NBA owners) and the NBA have conspired to expel him. By doing so, the logic goes, Sterling would have to sell his team at less than market value because prospective buyers would know that Sterling “has to” sell. As a result, he would attract lower bids.”
Do you think Sterling will be forced to sell the team and do you think his punishment is fair?
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