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NBA puts L.A. Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling on notice

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LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling  Today the NBA moved to strip embattled Los Angeles Clippers’ owner, Donald Sterling, of his team. The league put Sterling on notice of the charge against him and what he needs to do to respond, according to a news release issued this afternoon.

Here’s what the release says about the charge against the 80 year-old billionaire:

“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.”

The release says the NBA constitution gives Sterling some choices. He has the right to respond to the charge by May 27. Also, Sterling is offered the chance to make his case before the Board of Governors, the team owners, at a special meeting on June 3. A three-quarters vote of the board is needed to terminate  “all ownership interests” for Sterling. If that happens “the team will be sold to new owners.”

NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, fined Sterling $2.5 million and banned him from the league for life. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week, Sterling apologized for the racist remarks, while still insisting he is not a racist. Sterling garnered more negative heat from  that interview for his convoluted statements  and for slamming NBA legend/entrepreneur Magic Johnson.

A lawyer for Sterling claims the Clippers’ owner rejects the fine and will fight to keep the team. Sterling’s estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, has announced she wants to keep her half interest in the team. It appears the wife’s interest is tied to her husband’s, therefore, will survive or be terminated depending on the board’s decision about Sterling’s fate.

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