The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

NBA to make announcement on Sterling investigation, possible discipline

  • Print
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, watches the Clippers courtside in Los Angeles on Oct. 25, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mark J. Terrill

Enlarge Image

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, watches the Clippers courtside in Los Angeles on Oct. 25, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Mark J. Terrill

From Michael Jordan to LeBron James, from Magic Johnson to Kobe Bryant, from President Obama to prominent corporate partners of the NBA, the condemnation of racist comments purportedly made by Donald Sterling has come from all circles and has shown that the issue extends far beyond the Los Angeles Clippers.

They all will be watching on Tuesday, when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is scheduled to discuss the league's investigation and possibly reveal disciplinary actions against the Clippers' owner.

A suspension of indefinite length and a hefty fine — Silver can issue one of up to $1 million without approval from owners — are possible options. However, it remains unclear how far Silver's powers extend at this point, even though the NBA constitution gives the commissioner's office the clout to protect the game's best interest.

Clippers players made their statement before playing the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, throwing their team-issued warm-up gear down on centre court and conducting their pregame routines with shooting shirts inside-out to cover the team's logo. The Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs wore black socks in their games as a show of support, while the Heat mimicked the Clippers warm-up statement in their playoff game against Charlotte on Monday night.

"Like I've said before, there's no room in this game for an owner like that," James said. "For us, as basketball players, we're all brothers. We're competing against each other and all of us want to win, but in the end, we all have to stick together. We supported our Clippers tonight and showed our respect to what they're going through. For us, as a team, we can't imagine what they're going through at this point."

Kobe Bryant and TNT analyst Kenny Smith are among the many to join James in calling for Sterling's ouster and Jordan took a rare public stance on a high-profile issue when he said he was "disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views."

So when Silver makes his announcement in New York on Tuesday afternoon, he will do so feeling considerable public pressure from some of the biggest names in the game, past and present, many of the league's owners who pay his salary and have spoken out against Sterling's comments, and corporate sponsors like Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Virgin America that are backing away from advertising at Clippers games.

If Silver's reaction is not perceived as strong enough, more demonstrations from players, protests from civil rights groups and pulled advertisements from businesses could follow.

"The opportunity before Commissioner Silver to take an uncompromising stand against any form of prejudice in the NBA is unprecedented in the league," said Marc H. Morial, the president and CEO of the National Urban League.

Former NBA star and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is serving as an adviser to the National Basketball Players Association while the Sterling matter plays out, posted a message on Twitter early Tuesday saying, "We're at a defining moment in the history of the National Basketball Association."

Johnson called for an indefinite suspension, the appointment of an executive or family member to run the team, and "the maximum fine possible."

"We may not have the power to force Mr. Sterling to sell his team, but make no mistake, we believe that Mr. Sterling should no longer have the privilege of being an owner of an NBA team," Johnson wrote. "After all, how can we expect any player (the majority of whom are African-American) to want to work for him?"

When Silver last spoke on Saturday, he promised the league would "move extraordinarily quickly in our investigation."

"It needs to be handled in the right way," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I don't even know what the right way is. I have a hunch. But I don't know."

Suspensions and fines are two options, but removing him as the owner of the Clippers would appear to be a long shot and would almost certainly bring a lengthy and bitter legal challenge from Sterling. It could also cause concern among some owners about where the line would be drawn.

"What Donald said was wrong. It was abhorrent," Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. "There's no place for racism in the NBA, any business I'm associated with. But at the same time, that's a decision I make. I think you've got to be very, very careful when you start making blanket statements about what people say and think, as opposed to what they do. It's a very, very slippery slope."

At the same time, the attention Sterling's alleged comments have brought to the league are not only affecting the Clippers, who play the Warriors in a crucial Game 5 on Tuesday night, but the league as a whole.

Losing sponsors could potentially impact bottom lines across the league because of revenue sharing and Basketball Related Income, or BRI. And the story itself has overshadowed what has been a thrilling first round of playoffs.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

The Folk Festival Experience 2014

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fight as a male defends his nesting site at the duck pond at St Vital Park Thursday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 08- May 10, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you miss Grandma Elm?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google