The most hectic weekend in some time has produced some unique stories. Here is a look at some of the more important Donald Sterling stories from the weekend:
- At ESPN.com, Lester Munson reveals some of the confidential owners’ “constitution.”
- Also at ESPN.com, Ramona Shelbourn and Marc Stein go over possibilities of how commissioner Adam Silver may discipline Sterling.
- Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal writes about the possible ways the NBA could drop the hammer on Sterling and the Clippers.
- The Newark Star-Ledger writes about the business side of the NBA and Sterling’s connections to it.
- Almost all sponsors for the Los Angeles Clippers have now suspended or severed ties with the team.
- We are all guilty of dismissing Sterling’s transgressions as the raving lunacy of an entrenched owner, writes Brendan I. Koerner for The New Yorker.
Q: Is it possible for Silver and the NBA to terminate Sterling’s franchise ownership?
A: Yes. Under the terms of Paragraph 13 of the constitution, the owners can terminate another owner’s franchise with a vote of three-fourths of the NBA Board of Governors, which is composed of all 30 owners. The power to terminate is limited to things like gambling and fraud in the application for ownership, but it also includes a provision for termination when an owner “fails to fulfill” a “contractual obligation” in “such a way as to affect the [NBA] or its members adversely.” Silver and the owners could assert that Sterling’s statements violated the constitution’s requirements to conduct business on a “reasonable” and “ethical” level.
Most insiders, as the weekend unfolded, thus expected Silver to pursue an indefinite suspension of Sterling from league activity that would also include a substantial fine of up to $1 million, with the corresponding hope that the pressure on and outrage toward Sterling that’s piling up daily as a result of this scandal will ultimately convince him that selling the team is the only sensible recourse.
My favorite anecdote about the villainy of the Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is also one of the most mundane. Back in the early nineteen-eighties, when the organization was still in San Diego, Sterling repeatedly asked the head coach, Paul Silas, whether the team really had to pay for the players’ socks. Despite the fact that he was one of the N.B.A.’s richest owners at the time, having just paid a then impressive $13.5 million to acquire the erstwhile Buffalo Braves, Sterling was genuinely concerned about annual hosiery expenses that likely amounted to less than he paid for some dinners. “It was like that all the time,” Silas would recall years later. “It was all about trying to save money.”