NBA formally charges Donald Sterling, termination vote set for June 3

The NBA said Donald Sterling's racist remarks had "damaged" the league.
By Kate Stanton  |  May 19, 2014 at 8:34 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 19 (UPI) -- The NBA said Monday in a news release that it initiated the process of terminating Donald Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sterling, who was caught on tape making derogatory remarks about African Americans, will have until May 27 to respond to the charges.

The league said that 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" the NBA added, in reference to Sterling's taped conversation with now ex-girlfriend V. Stiviano.

The league's statement went on to say that Sterling "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."

Sterling, 80, purchased the Clippers in 1981. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced late last month that the league had decided to ban Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million.

The NBA's Board of Governors -- made up of NBA team owners -- has set a hearing date for June 3. The NBA will need 75 percent of the owners to vote against Sterling to force him to sell.

"We are studying the extensive charges served today by the NBA. Otherwise, we have no comment," Sterling's attorney, Maxwell M. Blecher, said in an email to USA Today.

The attorney for Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, issued a statement regarding her partial stake in the team.

"We have just received the voluminous charges and are beginning the process of carefully reviewing them," Pierce O'Donnell said. "Based on our initial assessment, we continue to believe there is no lawful basis for stripping Shelly Sterling of her 50 percent ownership interest in the Clippers. She is the innocent estranged spouse. We also continue to hope that we can resolve this dispute with the NBA for the good of all constituencies."

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