Clippers owner Donald Sterling expected to receive harsh punishments for racially charged comments

first_imgJohnson sold his 4.5-percent ownership stake with the Lakers in 2010 and remains an unpaid vice president. He then became part of Guggenheim Partners, the investment group that bought the Dodgers in 2012. In February, Johnson’s ownership group also purchased the WNBA’s Sparks.“I am not trying to buy the Clippers,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “They already have an owner.”Various league sources believe that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison could become a candidate. Ellison was unsuccessful in purchasing the Golden State Warriors after venture capitalist Joe Lacob and Hollywood power broker Peter Guber purchased the franchise in 2010 for a record $450 million. But published reports list Ellison as one of the highest-paid CEOs, worth around $48 billion. Sterling’s wife, Rochelle, could also file divorce papers that would require her husband to pay half of his community assets per California law. “The best possible outcome would be for him to voluntarily give up his franchise so a new owner who reflects the values of America can take over,” Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his Facebook page. “We all need to continue to support the Clippers, who clearly are enduring a moral crisis.”Staples Center officials promised it would provide a “safe, secure and welcoming environment” for Game 5. “We know that fans are in a dilemma,” Rivers said in a statement. “We want them to cheer for their players and their team. It will always be their players and their team. From the fans that I have heard from, that’s how they feel. ‘This is my team. These are my players that I’m cheering for and that’s not going to change.’ I hope Staples Center is packed and people are cheering for the players.”Not everyone supports that idea.“The loudest statement they could make as far as fans is to not show up to the game,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson told reporters. “As an African-American man that’s a fan of the game of basketball and knows its history and knows what’s right and what’s wrong, I would not come to the game (Tuesday), whether I was a Clipper fan or a Warrior fan.”Yet, with the average price of tickets increasing by 4.1 percent on the secondary market, that outcome seems as unlikely as Sterling avoiding a harsh punishment. What that will entail exactly? No one knows for sure. But the basketball world will be watching. Kobe Bryant also sent out a series of tweets, expressing appreciation for the Buss family and disowning Sterling.“He should not continue owning the Clippers,” Bryant wrote on Twitter.Based on conversations with various league sources familiar with the proceedings, it appears likely Sterling will receive a fine of at least $1 million and an indefinite suspension that would keep him away from at least the Clippers’ remaining playoff games. Skepticism persists that the NBA would force Sterling to sell the team out of fear it would prompt a costly and time-consuming legal battle that could ultimately ensure he remains in control of a franchise he has overseen for 30 years.Considering 13 companies withdrew their Clippers sponsorship, including State Farm Insurance, CarMax, Red Bull, Kia and Sprint, such bottom-line consequences could indirectly spur Sterling to cede control.If the Clippers were put up for sale, there’s a strong suspicion that Johnson would be interested in purchasing the franchise should he receive financial support from Guggenheim Partners. Something could happen as swiftly as Clippers guard Chris Paul converting off a pick-and-roll, as vicious as a Blake Griffin dunk and as well thought out as coach Doc Rivers drawing up a play.But when the NBA hosts a press conference at 11 a.m. PST on Tuesday in New York to address racially charged comments Clippers owner Donald Sterling purportedly made on an audio recording, the sense around the league suggests an unpredictable outcome. One perhaps more uncertain than when the Clippers host the Golden State Warriors for Game 5 Tuesday night at Staples Center in their first-round playoff series that is tied at 2-2.NBA commissioner Adam Silver will encounter his first big test, assessing legitimate punishment to an owner who is identified in a tape criticizing his girlfriend both for posting herself on Instagram with Lakers legend Magic Johnson and for bringing “black people to my games.” TMZ and Deadspin have not explained how they obtained their recording. Various news organizations, including this one, have not verified its authenticity. But the NBA presumably spent parts of its investigation on doing so. “The comments and sentiments expressed on the tape are reprehensible and disturbing, and certainly are the opposite of how the Lakers feel about the league’s players and fans,” Lakers president Jeanie Buss said Monday in a statement. “I have full confidence that Adam Silver and the NBA will handle this situation appropriately.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *