Elgin Baylor suing Clippers, NBA

Elgin Baylor, the Clippers executive vice president whose 22-year tenure with the club ended in dispute before this season, is holding a press conference Thursday morning to announce the filing of an employment discrimination lawsuit against the NBA, the Clippers, owner Donald Sterling and club president Andy Roeser, according to a fax sent by his lawyer, Carl Douglas on Wednesday evening.

The lawsuit, filed today in L.A. Superior Court, maintains that Baylor was “discriminated against and unceremoniously released from his position with the team on account of his age and his race” and that he was “grossly underpaid during his tenure with the Clippers, never earning more than $350,000 per year, when compared with the compensation scheme for general managers employed by every other team in the NBA.”

When reached on his cellphone Wednesday night, Baylor said that his attorneys had advised him not to speak on the matter until Thursday morning.

Carl Douglas, Baylor’s attorney, said that he had been trying to reach an informal settlement with the Clippers for months, but “those talks proved unsuccessful so we were left with no alternative but to file a lawsuit.”

Asked whether they had hoped to avoid a lawsuit, Douglas said, “Given my knowledge and understanding of the way that the Clipper organization operates, we were always hopeful we could resolve things informally but fully expected we’d be forced to file the lawsuit as we did.”

Roeser said he needed to review the specifics of the case before commenting.

The NBA is named in the lawsuit, according to Douglas’ fax, as “a
joint venturer/partner of condoning, adopting and ratifying this discriminatory practice since the league is fully aware of salaries paid to all of the general managers.”

A report on TMZ.com has further details of the lawsuit, in which Baylor reportedly claims he was told to “induce African American players to join the Clippers, despite the Clippers’ reputation of being unwilling to fairly treat and compensate African American players.”

Baylor also reportedly says the owner, Donald Sterling, has a “pervasive and ongoing racist attitude.”

Douglas said that he did not want to add anything to what he wrote in the fax received Wednesday night, but would elaborate further on Thursday morning.

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