OT: Did the NBA just open up a can of worms?

Submitted by Shakey Jake on April 30th, 2014 at 9:38 AM


I posted yesterday that trying to remove Donald Sterling could back fire on the NBA as Sterling won't go quietly into the night. He's always had a chip on his shoulder and if he believes he has been unfairly targeted, as I can bet he has here right or wrong, that he could possibly use a scorched earth strategy to counter the NBA's punishment. It has already been reported that Sterling told a Fox reporter that he will not sell his team

Don't think for a minute that he's the only creepy character in the NBA. The owners have to vote to have him removed. Some of those owners might want to think twice about their votes as I am betting there are stories about them that they do not want out in the public. 

And certain players should also be careful. We already know that many of them aren't the most honorable, ethical or racially tolerant as we would think. 

The NBA is a very seedy place.

As they say, be careful for what you wish for.

The flip side to all of this is that the NBA guarantees that Donald will get a more than fair price for his team to leave quietly. And then Magic Johnson and his billionaire white investors will have their team.



Shakey Jake

April 30th, 2014 at 9:54 AM ^

But then again, you have no understanding who Donald Sterling is. He'd be perfect in GOT as a Villian because he doesn't mess around. Well, with exception of his wife.


Btw, it is also why Sterling is a billionaire and you and I are not. His take no prisoners approach to life and business isn't for the queasy. That is how billionaires are made. They make decisions and do things many of us never make or do.


April 30th, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

There is definitely a correlation.  Unless they stumble upon a timely, brilliant new innovation, aside from obviously being smart, most self made billionaires share a common quality which is a relentless drive to better themselves.  What underlies that quality is egocentrism, which is 50% of the asshole equation, with the other 50% being an air of superiority.  Not saying all billionaires are assholes, but they do tend to be programmed egocentrically.

Perfect example - of my three brothers and myself, all of whom attended Michigan, the most successful also happened to be the most self-centered, who got a 4.0 at UM and went on to be valedictorian at MIT for his masters, and high honors at Harvard Law.  That brother isn't the smartest of the four (I'd say I come in third), yet since his world revolves entirely about himself and his achievements, he has reached a high level of success thanks in large part to a self-centered, relentless personal drive.

When you look at a lot of rich and powerful, there sure as heck is a lot of "me me me" in their equation, and that's at the root of most assholes.


April 30th, 2014 at 11:29 AM ^

understands who Donald Sterling is.  Besides being a racist shit, we get that he is also a litigious one.  But being litigious doesn't mean he wins--particularly when he signed on to the rules and regulations of the NBA.

And, this time he would be going against a bunch of other billionaires---real billionaires--not paper real estate billionaires like he and Donald Trump, whose net worths are almost always considered inflated because they are typically heavily leveraged.

He won't be suing. 

Ali G Bomaye

April 30th, 2014 at 1:59 PM ^

That's a stupid answer.  Given Sterling's history and the fact that he obviously doesn't mind being seen as a creepy, racist old man, he will almost certainly fight this tooth and nail.  The NBA almost definitely opened up a can of worms.  The question is, was it worth it?  And the answer to that is almost surely "yes."


April 30th, 2014 at 9:43 AM ^

Sterling and am disgusted with his comments - but the hypocrisy is palpable.  Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) punched fans and came back, no big deal.  But a guy (albeit a disgusting racist), makes comments in PRIVATE and is banned for life.

Yes, I think this is a can of worms that has been opened.

More hypocrisy: Link


April 30th, 2014 at 10:00 AM ^

Never once did I bring race into this discussion.  The point was that people who have had violent crimes on their resume' continue to be in the league.  And the league has known for YEARS that this guy was a racist and did nothing about it.

Please don't put words in my mouth (or in my posts).


April 30th, 2014 at 2:11 PM ^

I mean, I get sued by the federal government all the time and agree to massive settlements just to get the case dismissed (despite the fact that I'm innocent and my name and reputation is dragged through the mud in the process). How about you?


April 30th, 2014 at 2:31 PM ^

Do speeding tickets count?

The point of my original question was because someone said the NBA did nothing even though they knew about Sterling's racism years ago.  So I was asking what kind of proof there was before I gave my opinion on whether the NBA should have done something years ago.


April 30th, 2014 at 12:39 PM ^

I skimmed the page since the link was horrible (who designs a webpage with two simultaneous video streams).
I did not see too many dates, but it appears that most of the proof occurred before the NBA was trying to clean up its image. So I see no fault in the NBA to not react until now.


April 30th, 2014 at 12:49 PM ^

I think the question isn't why the NBA didn't act five years ago--there wasn't a sponsor revolt, because there wasn't a media outcry. The question is, why was there no media outcry when details of the discrimination lawsuits came out? Some of the stuff in the sworn testimony was far worse than anything he said now and there was no way to minimize it as just his "private beliefs".

Don's probably right--there's a salaciousness to a recording that lends itself to an outcry in a way that cold print on the page can't.


April 30th, 2014 at 1:13 PM ^

Well my question was in response to a question asking why the NBA did nothing.  And as far as the sworn testimony, that is all it is, someones word/  Which is not the same thing as proof.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he got caught, but don't blame the NBA (not directing this at you) for not doing something until now when they didn't have this kind of proof.


April 30th, 2014 at 1:09 PM ^

No problem, I wouldn't have taken it personal either way.  But I don't think people understand the intent of the plus minus.

And yes I assumed there was a lot of circumstantial evidence, but I asked for proof because I wrongly assumed others might have the same question and the answer would be right there for everyone to read.


April 30th, 2014 at 10:16 AM ^

There are a host of legal issues here which go beyond the argument of whether Sterling is a racist scumbag.

1. Were the phone messages illegally recorded and would they be admissable under Cali law?  

2. Did Sterling give his consent for the release of the illegally recorded phone messages?

3.  Does the NBA have the right to sell the team out from underneath Sterling and what does the NBA's constitution/governing laws say about conduct?

I'd be most surprised if Sterling doesn't file a suit and it wouldn't surprise me if he prevails on some of these points.


April 30th, 2014 at 10:55 AM ^

what views are successful business men "required" to have in order to continue being successful, and is it OK in America for Donald Sterling to have the views that he has, and how do you define OK and who defines OK and........

The implications are less for the NBA than they are for society at large.  I strongly disagree with Donald Sterling, but I was under the impression that he was allowed to think as he does.  If he is not allowed to than this country has changed a lot more and more quickly than I thought.  I am not at all saying that his views are not worthy of condemnation, but I bet you if you polled Americans right now over 50% would say that they would support federal government action to force the sale of a business with an owner with such views who could not be forced out by an Association.  That is dangerous public sentiment.

One could argue that the eradication of such views is a good societal goal for the betterment of society, but punitive action taken by a governing body for a person's beliefs in about as un-American as you can get. 

Go Blue in MN

April 30th, 2014 at 12:04 PM ^

Freedom of association is as American as apple pie.  The NBA is an association of businesss owners.  It appears that 29 of the owners (or at least the 3/4ths required by NBA by-laws) do not want to associate with Mr. Sterling or what he represents.  The government has nothing to do with this.  

Would it be American in your view to force the other 29 owners to associate with Sterling when they do not want to?


April 30th, 2014 at 12:26 PM ^

and as long as the sentiment stays within the confines of the by-laws of the NBA, I have no issue (with the exception that if Viviano is not prosecuted for any law violations that occured than justice will not be fully served).  However, give it six months.  Right now, this country is trending toward "acceptable beliefs" and "unacceptable beliefs," and the "conversation on mental illness" that the country is supposedly engaging in  troubles me when looked at in conjunction with the public and sometimes executively "official" denouncement or acceptance of certain thoughts or beliefs.  The slope is looking mightly slick to me right now. 

French West Indian

April 30th, 2014 at 12:56 PM ^

Combine the "acceptable/unacceptable beliefs" trend with a national spy agency that has worked out back doors into almost every smart phone and the slope is not just slick; it's about 89 degrees steep too.



April 30th, 2014 at 12:43 PM ^

Nothing has changed, people have just warped what the first amendment means because they learned about the constitution in the 4th grade and took "free speech" to mean "I can say whatever I want whenever I want without repurcussion." The UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT cannot charge you with a crime purely for what you think/say/opine. Your employer, association, etc. can most certainly take action against you. This is no different. The United States government cannot do anything to strip him of his franchise but the association can say "you and your franchise are no longer apart of the association if you choose not to sell."


April 30th, 2014 at 1:04 PM ^

about the constitution since the 4th Grade, and I can tell you that while this particular issue does not directly relate to Freedom of Speech as set forth in the US Constitution, you are slowly but surely(and unknowingly) acceding to the abolition of it, or at a minimum unprecedented limitations on it.


April 30th, 2014 at 1:17 PM ^

No he isn't. The government has nothing to do with this, period. So, no possible First Amendment issue here.

But I get your point. My response is that if We, the People, decide that some speech is unacceptable and pass laws to ban it, then there is no Constitutional issue. I'd go so far as to say that if We, the People, decide to repeal the 1st amendment to the US Constitution, no big deal. It's our Constitution, and the ability to amend it is one of the reasons it has lasted so long and has been so successful.


April 30th, 2014 at 1:44 PM ^

Is the 1st Amendment more important than any other article of the Constitution? More important than article 5, which outlines the process of amendment? I don't think so.

I'm not advocating the repeal of the first amendment, but if We want to change it, we can. Legally. By using the Constitution. No big deal.


April 30th, 2014 at 10:56 AM ^

1. These were not recorded phone calls. Sterling wanted his life archived, and knew he was being recorded. Stiviano was in the same room as him.

2. Depends on ownership of the recordings. It's as yet unclear who released them. If the person who released them came to possess them legally, he has not much left to go on. Even so, if they were not released legally, his damage is caused by that person(s), and not the NBA. He can sue whomever released the tape for the very real damages incurred. But that's not the NBA's problem. Their problem is the damage that Sterling's actions have caused, and they are attempting to mitigate those damages through their own Constitution.

3. The NBA has the authority under its constitution to kick out a franchise. It's unclear whether they can force him to sell, but if given the choice of "be kicked out and have a valueless franchise or sell", they will effectively force him to sell.


April 30th, 2014 at 11:07 AM ^

...then you're an idiot plain and simple. Especially after this past week was Holocaust Remembrance Day (vast majority who were slaughtered and tortured were white FYI). The fact that would insinuate otherwise makes you no different than Don Sterling in my book.