NBA Owners Prepared To Force Donald Sterling To Sell Clippers Franchise
The politics of professional sports are a tricky thing, as the events of the Donald Sterling scandal have made clear in a few short days.
While NBA commissioner Adam Silver has hit Sterling with a fine and a lifetime ban, he hasn’t proceeded with any action to force him to sell the team, nor is it clear, to most people, anyway, if he even has that right.
All that may be moot, though, as Silver may have been gracefully passing the buck to the NBA owners. To ultimately strip someone of their billion-dollar asset because of their beliefs (no matter how poorly they reflect on the league) is a huge card to play, with all sorts of ramifications ranging from free speech to antitrust issues.
However, to allow 24 of 31 of Sterling’s capitalist, uber-savvy, uber-rich peers to force him to sell is perhaps much more palatable to all involved. And to that end, Silver has said that he has “the full support” of the owners. It’s hard to believe that “full support” doesn’t mean that a super majority (3/4ths) of the owners would vote to force him to sell.
At this point, as with the sponsors, silence coming from any NBA franchise on this matter will be deafening. To not vote him out is to leave the league susceptible to allegations of being some secret-handshake oligarchy where one hand washes the other, etc, etc.
Here are some of the owner tweets both praising and supporting Silver:
Great job Adam.The @NBA is in good hands. You have my full support.
— Micky Arison (@MickyArison) April 29, 2014
— Vivek Ranadivé (@Vivek) April 29, 2014
I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) April 29, 2014
Clay Bennett (Thunder), Bruce Levenson (Hawks), James Dolan (Knicks), Celtic ownership group (duh), and Glen Taylor (Timberwolves) also offered their praise via press release, presumably because they couldn’t find an Internet cafe in time to get their tweets out.