FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife Rochelle during the Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles. An attorney representing the estranged wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling said Thursday, May 8, 2014, that she will fight to retain her 50 percent ownership stake in the team. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
The NBA has formally charged embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling with conduct that “damaged and continues to damage the NBA and its teams.” The move was expected and is another step in the eventual termination of Sterling’s ownership of the team.
According to CBSSports.com, Sterling was charged for disparaging “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 league also said that Sterling’s actions “undermine the NBA’s diversity efforts and has damaged the league’s relationships with fans, business partners, and government and community leaders,” according to CBSSports.com.
The next step is for Sterling to respond to the charges from the NBA and he must do so by May 27. He will then be allowed to attend and present evidence at a hearing in front of the NBA Board of Governors on June 3.
The timing of the hearing is tough for the NBA as it will be two days before the start of the NBA Finals on June 5.
Sterling, who was first implicated in making racially charged comments in multiple audio tapes released to the media, has vowed to fight the charges and the lifetime ban he was given by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
If the board of governors moves to terminate the ownership by Sterling, it would also preclude his wife, Shelly, from owning her part of the team. Shelly Sterling said she has no intention of selling the team and also said she would fight in court to keep her stake.
However, under the NBA constitution, if three-fourths of the owners voted to terminate the ownership, all current interests in the team for the Sterling’s would be removed.