SBD/May 21, 2014/Franchises

Silver Urges Sterling To Sell Clippers, Avoid Potential Legal Proceedings

Silver (r) would rather Sterling sell Clippers on his own timetable
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver prior to last night's Draft Lottery "spent most of his time" urging Clippers Owner Donald Sterling to "sell the team on his own accord," according to Mark Medina of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Silver said, "If he wanted to sell the team on some reasonable time table, I'd rather he sell it than go through this process." He added, "We have an obligation to the Sterlings to ensure we sell it for the highest possible price. There's no doubt it's a highly valuable asset" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/21). Silver said, “I know we’re doing the right thing here. This is an unprecedented proceeding. Will there be bumps in the road? Presumably, yes.” In L.A., Broderick Turner notes the NBA “filed formal allegations Monday and set a June 3 hearing in its attempt to oust Sterling from the team he has owned for 33 years." Silver also said that the NBA has informed Sterling’s lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, that Sterling “will not be given three months to respond to the charges.” Silver said that Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, “wouldn’t be allowed to keep the team as well.” He said despite her lawyers saying she cannot be terminated as an owner, it "just doesn’t make sense" under the league’s bylaws (L.A. TIMES, 5/21). Silver: “I know I have the owners behind me” (ESPNLA.com, 5/20). Silver, when asked about his feelings on the issue, said, “It’s beyond anger. It’s a certain sadness, and you feel it. It’s almost a malaise around the league. ... It’s something deeper than anger” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/20).

LESSON LEARNED? HBO's Bryant Gumbel said, "Before Donald Sterling officially joins the likes of George Preston Marshall, Calvin Griffith, Marge Schott and other bigots who used to own a professional team in sports, I'm hoping athletes will have learned something about their clout and how to use it.” Gumbel: “I'm hoping they'll note how long before he became a social piñata, Sterling's views and practices were a matter of record, and how none of those same athletes who now say they'll refuse to play for him, ever considered his sordid racial past before they signed on to play for him.” Gumbel added, “Among the owners of all pro teams, I do not think Donald Sterling's racial attitudes are the norm, not by a long shot. But only a fool would believe that he's the lone exception” ("Real Sports," HBO, 5/20).
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