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The Sterling-Silver Showdown

by admin on Friday, May 2nd, 2014

NBANow we know why David Stern retired.  Since he left office the NBA Commissioner’s job has taken on some new aspects and become a bit more exciting in the process. Now we have one of the team owners apparently caught is some sort of a private sting operation by his girl friend which has gone ballistic since it was first reported.

New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is the guy who will now have to deal with this mess. It will be his first big crisis test since taking over the reins of the professional basketball league on February the first this year. How he handles it may well define his tenure as commissioner of the NBA.

To say that Don Sterling’s remarks were racially insensitive doesn’t quite cover it.  They spoke of outright racial discrimination and hatred and fear. Basic stuff that America has spent the past 50 years trying to evolve out of. The entire nation should be shocked and offended at Sterling’s attitudes, now publically voiced.

Of course Mr. Silver’s office must proceed with extreme caution. After all Donald Sterling is one of the guys who pays his salary, which is a pretty good one. They are going at this using the American standard of someone being innocent until proven guilty. So, for now, they use, ‘the alleged remarks’ and do not even acknowledge that Sterling was the source.

Adam Silver believes in due process and he learned enough from working with David Stern to keep his own interests and those of the NBA, covered at all times.  First they must establish that the voice on the controversial tape is indeed Don Sterling, just to be sure.

If it is confirmed that it was Sterling on the tape then Adam Silver and his crew must then turn to the NBA’s Constitution & By-Laws. These are not public documents but Silver has indicated that they contain ‘broad powers’ on the subject of potential owner discipline including a ‘range of sanctions’ that the Commissioner’s office could employ.

Obviously a fine to a billionaire would have no effect at all on anything. Sanctions could include a suspension from the NBA which might even include orders for the team owner to be removed from the day-to-day business and basketball operations of the team.

However, it is not at all clear whether Silver has the power to actually force Sterling to sell the Clippers because of this incident. Pressured perhaps, but not forced.

In the meantime, Magic Johnson and his backers stand ready to purchase the Clippers franchise at the drop of a basketball.

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