The NBA officially charged Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling Monday with “conduct that has damaged and continues to damage the NBA.”
Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the charge. His attorney, Maxwell Blecher, demanded the NBA give Sterling a three-month extension to respond, but NBA sources told Sports Illustrated the league will deny the request, calling it “unreasonable.”
Then on June 3, the National Basketball Association Board of Governors, made up of the owners of the 30 teams (minus Sterling) will meet to vote on the charges and, it is expected, force Sterling to sell the team. Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is currently the chairman of the board and would preside over the hearing. Twenty-two of the 29 owners would have to support the charges to force a sale.
Sixteen owners condemned Sterling in the days after TMZ published a tape of Sterling making racist comments to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said he’s confident he will get the 22 votes necessary to revoke Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers.
The NBA hand-delivered the charges to Sterling and his lawyer. According to ESPN, the NBA included Sterling’s original leaked audio tape and his subsequent comments in an interview with Anderson Cooper last week as grounds for the charges.
"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 statement read.
Sterling has argued he is not getting due process and has also refused to pay a $2.5 million fine the NBA has imposed on him.
Sterling owns the Clippers with his wife, Shelly. She would also be removed as an owner of the team, but has said she will fight to keep a non-controlling stake. The team is currently headed by interim CEO Richard Parsons, who was an executive for Time Warner when they owned the Atlanta Hawks. Parsons was brought in by the NBA to make sure the organization "continues to function in an appropriate way."
“I’m here to turn one of the burners off under the pot, not to turn it up higher,” he said.
If Sterling is ousted as the Clippers owner and banned for life, Silver will assume ownership of the team, which he will then sell.