Nearly three weeks after banning him for life, the NBA has charged Donald Sterling with damaging the league and set up a hearing that could terminate his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sterling has the right to defend himself with a presentation on June 3, when the NBA Board of Governors has planned a special hearing to assess the charge.
He also has the right to respond to the league by May 27. The board can force him out with a three-fourths majority vote.
TMZ first published Sterling’s racist comments in late April, releasing audio of him telling female friend V. Stiviano not to associate with African Americans. He also gave a widely panned interview on CNN last week, tempering his apologies with attacks on former NBA star Magic Johnson. Sterling’s attorney, Maxwell Blecher, wrote to the NBA that his client will not pay his $2.5 million fine.
“Mr. Sterling’s actions and positions significantly undermine the NBA’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion; damage the NBA’s relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA’s relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders,” the league said in a statement. “Mr. Sterling engaged in other misconduct as well, including issuing a false and misleading press statement about this matter.”
“All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA Constitution and related agreements.”