Terminating Donald Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers appears imminent based on Thursday's NBA Advisory Committee meeting.
Dan Woike of The Orange County Register posted an official statement from the NBA that revealed a consensus to move forward with the process as swiftly as possible:
Statement from NBA on today's owner meeting pic.twitter.com/6g9c5DGZ7S— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) May 1, 2014
Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report noted that Jeanie Buss replaced her late father Jerry Buss on the 10-member committee:
NBA Advisory Committee will reconvene next week on Sterling. (Jeanie replaced her father on NBA's 10-member executive committee.)— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) May 1, 2014
Sterling made racist remarks to his girlfriend in a private setting that were recorded and recently released, leading to NBA commissioner Adam Silver assessing a lifetime ban to Sterling, along with a maximum fine of $2.5 million.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today noted that Thursday's actions by the executive committee weren't much more than a minor update on the process. However, it reflected that the sentiments of universal resentment toward Sterling's actions haven't changed:
While that statement from NBA didn't say much, it re-affirms it means business and there is no wavering.— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) May 1, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix believes that if Sterling is forced to surrender the Clippers, he could take the matter to court, where the NBA may have a difficult time defeating him:
The NBA was under enormous pressure to do what it did. But if Sterling elects to fight, it's one the NBA has no idea if it can win.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 1, 2014
Sterling could do it, too. He could start a messy war with the NBA that ends with some very ugly testimony coming out. Scary thought.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 1, 2014
Growing fear in NBA offices: Sterling files a lawsuit and starts deposing EVERYBODY. Asks team personnel if their owner ever got racial— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 1, 2014
While it is possible that Sterling could have his way in terms of litigation, there is no excuse for his repugnant conduct and intolerance, or appreciation for any diversity. He is rightly getting slammed in the court of public opinion.
Silver's hardline stance sets a strong precedent, but it is a bit of a slippery slope to exact such harsh discipline for something that happened out of the public eye—even though Sterling has a history of racist conduct that suggests he deserves the punishment.
How do you feel about Donald Sterling's punishment?
Silver himself had strong words to describe the nature of Sterling's comments, and left no doubt that it was indeed the voice of the Clippers owner heard on the recording, via The Boston Globe: “The hateful opinions...are those of Mr. Sterling.’’
This is an era of unprecedented access to information, and thus a lack of privacy has resulted. Instead of evolving, becoming more culturally conscious or even kind and wary of what he says to anyone regardless of the circumstances, Sterling chose to stay set in his ways and is now paying the price.
The NBA executive committee appears determined to sever any of Sterling's remaining ties to the Association, and it should happen sooner than later based on Thursday's release.
Sterling is the type of personality that must be expunged from the NBA's cultural memory. The unanimous decision is indicative of a forward-looking paradigm that accepts the ever-globalizing game of professional basketball—and the diverse array of players who come with it—without Sterling playing any part.