Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the National Basketball Association, which on Monday “initiated a charge” seeking to terminate all ownership rights in the franchise, the NBA announced in a written statement.
Sterling, who owns the team with his wife, Shelly, through a family trust, will also be allowed to make a presentation at a special Board of Governors meeting scheduled for June 3.
However, attorney Maxwell Blefcher has demanded on behalf of Sterling that the NBA give the longtime owner a three-month extension to prepare his response, Sports Illustrated reported Monday night. The magazine, which like CNN is owned by Time Warner, said the NBA would reject the request.
A receptionist at Blecher’s office told CNN she had been advised to give a “no comment” to all media inquiries involving Donald Sterling.
The NBA declined to comment on the Sports Illustrated report.
In order to terminate the Sterlings’ franchise rights, 75% (22) of the other 29 owners would have to vote to sustain the charge and force a sale.
NBA bylaws say that if Sterling doesn’t respond in five business days or appear at a hearing it will be deemed an admission to the “total validity” of the charge.
If the owner does appear he may be represented by a lawyer, but the NBA constitution says: “Strict rules of evidence shall not apply, and all relevant and material evidence submitted prior to and at the hearing may be received and considered.” CNN
In the words of the great Timon, “It starts.”
Anyone who says they know how this will end is speaking too soon. There are legitimate legal arguments on both sides. No owner would like to be in Sterling’s position based on a private conversation. Kevin Johnson is already been guilty of throwing stones in a glass house.
The NBA player’s union will be closely following this situation. Future boycotts should not be expected because the NBA is currently following protocol to kick Sterling out.
Hopefully this process is quick. I don’t expect it to be. – AL
Featured image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.