NBA Panel Takes Next Step To Oust Sterling, Who Reportedly Has Prostate Cancer
The NBA on Thursday "launched its bid to oust" banned Clippers Owner Donald Sterling, as the league indicated that a panel of 10 fellow team owners "or their proxies unanimously agreed to proceed 'as expeditiously as possible,'" according to Larry Fine of REUTERS. The decision, reached during a telephone conference call of the NBA BOG's Advisory/Finance Committee, "seemed to indicate a strong base of support among Sterling's fellow owners for his removal, as urged by league Commissioner Adam Silver" (REUTERS, 5/2). In L.A., Mike Bresnahan reports the 10 owners "agreed to talk again next week, though it was not known when the 30 owners would take an official vote to try to oust Sterling" (L.A. TIMES, 5/2). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Massarella, Smith, Golding & Kumari cited a source as saying that Sterling is "suffering from prostate cancer." Sources added that he has "been phoning friends for support" in the wake of the scandal. Sources said that Sterling "was in negotiations to chat" with ABC's Barbara Walters for a "20/20" interview (N.Y. POST, 5/2). Clippers F Blake Griffin said of Sterling's reported cancer, "If that is true, my thoughts and prayers are with him. Nobody deserves to go through something like that." NBPA President and Clippers G Chris Paul: "That’s truly unfortunate" (L.A. TIMES, 5/2).
STERLING'S STRATEGY: In L.A., Rainey, Fenno & Turner in a front-page piece note Sterling "remains mostly out of sight" in the wake of the scandal. A source said it is "way too early for him [to be] an eager or willing seller. He'll make the NBA go through the process, whatever it is. Then he'll make whatever decision he's going to make." Still, others who know him believe that he "may bow to a simple truth: that his team has reached a peak value and that his association with it is only likely to drive that value down" (L.A. TIMES, 5/2). USA TODAY's Brent Schrotenboer writes Sterling "might have one last act of horror in store for the NBA." In a "nightmare scenario," Sterling could "fight to keep his family's ownership of the team, dragging out his case and creating a problem for the league next season if players decide they won't work for a team owned by Sterling" (USA TODAY, 5/2). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes under the header, "Little Recourse For Sterling," and lists some of the questions surrounding the situation (N.Y. TIMES, 5/2).
INVASION OF PRIVACY? A SEATTLE TIMES editorial states people can argue that Sterling "can say what he wants, but the owners can choose with whom they will associate" (SEATTLE TIMES, 5/2). In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw wonders whether Heat F LeBron James, Bobcats Owner Michael Jordan and others really "plan to be held accountable for every private conversation that might find its way onto someone's cellphone recorder?" Cowlishaw: "What if it’s someone delivering an off-color or sexist joke, then having to defend that it was merely a joke and not a true reflection of his feelings?" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/2). In Buffalo, Bucky Gleason writes Sterling's rights to privacy "were basically ignored in the public’s quest to condemn him." Gleason: "Can you imagine if your private conversations were available for the public shredder?" (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/2). In Chicago, Rick Telander writes the NBA "might have some stormy times ahead," as the "backlash from Sterling could be a troubling one" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/2). Basketball HOFer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in an op-ed for TIME magazine wrote Sterling "was discriminating against black and Hispanic families for years, preventing them from getting housing." Abdul-Jabbar: "It was public record. We did nothing. ... Shouldn’t we be equally angered by the fact that his private, intimate conversation was taped and then leaked to the media?" (TIME.com, 4/28).
MISCELLANEOUS NOTES: StubHub President Chris Tsakalakis said ticket sales for the Warriors-Clippers first-round playoff series are "doing really well," and it has been "one of our hottest in the NBA playoffs." He notes Game 5, which took place at Staples Center just hours after the NBA banned Clippers Owner Donald Sterling for life was "one of our hottest games ever in the NBA playoffs." Tsakalakis noted ticket sales were a "concern" for StubHub had Sterling not been punished by the NBA following his racist comments ("After The Bell," Fox Business, 5/1)....In N.Y., Christian Red noted Sterling "has donated millions of dollars to a wide range of charities over the years." Red provides a look at how some of these organizations "have responded in the wake of his racist comments," including UCLA returning a $425,00 initial payment of a planned $3M donation (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/2)....In Boston, Chad Finn writes he is not sure TNT's "Inside the NBA" has "ever been better than it was this week" in the aftermath of Sterling's audiotape being released (Saturday) and then Silver's press conference announcing the Sterling's punishment (Tuesday). Finn writes if there "were negatives or missteps in sports television’s coverage of this story," he "must have missed them while tuned in to a channel that was getting it exactly right." It "wasn’t just TNT that had many poignant and on-point discussions regarding the effects of Sterling’s words and actions through the years." ESPN and NBA TV "were both exceptional in their coverage, every day" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/2).