Donald Sterling’s lawsuit against the NBA is suing for $1.7 billion in damages based upon being banned and fined by the board of governors.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, the ban Donald Sterling bandwagon is using the NBA as an example for the NFL to demand a change for the Washington Redskins name due to critics who deem it racist.
Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, but the ban in these terms:
“I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA.”
The coach has already resigned and Sterling is banned for life from attending events, meetings, games, and anything related to the NBA. They also issued a maximum fine of $2.5 million. Though the lifetime ban is unprecedented in the NBA, the league’s bylaws reserve power to expel owners under limited circumstances. It is believed Silver is acting within Article 35 of the NBA Constitution, which gives the commissioner power to indefinitely suspend owners for “conduct prejudicial or detrimental to the association.”
But Donald Sterling’s lawsuit claims the NBA cannot ban based upon his status as the Clippers owner. His lawyers point out that the recordings of Sterling were in a private setting, were free speech, and were not intended to be leaked. They also allege that the NBA is essentially extorting Sterling by blackballing him from the NBA:
“No one approves of what our client said on that recording. There’s no denying that. But it was recorded in the comfort of his own home and later obtained and publicized illegally. Not to mention, the mafia tactics the league is using to try to muscle Mr. Sterling out of his rightfully owned franchise are highly illegal and even unconstitutional. We have no doubt that our client will be exonerated when it is all said and done.”
Now Mark Cuban has a very unique position on Sterling’s situation. While he 100 percent agrees with “Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling,” he also believes that forcing a basketball team owner to sell their team based upon their personal views presents a slippery slope:
“Again, there’s no excuse for his positions. There’s no excuse for what he said. There’s no excuse for anybody to support racism. There’s no place for it in our league, but there’s a very, very, very slippery slope. But regardless of your background, regardless of the history they have, if we’re taking something somebody said in their home and we’re trying to turn it into something that leads to you being forced to divest property in any way, shape or form, that’s not the United States of America. I don’t want to be part of that.”
The first amendment does give Sterling freedom of speech and letting this type of “ruling” stand by the NBA opens an incredibly large can of worms for everyone. Thoughts, actions, words, and everything said in private can now be a liability. At the same time, private organizations and companies are allowed to make decisions based upon freely given speech. The NBA, NFL, and other corporations will often fine or fire people for what they say.
Do you feel the NBA made a fair decision or do you think Donald Sterling’s lawsuit should win in the court decision?