The Donald Sterling-Los Angeles Clippers trauma, which has transfixed the nation, has taken a dramatic step toward resolution. The NBA has officially charged Donald Sterling under Article 14 Section (a) of the NBA Constitution.
The league stated that "[Sterling's] actions and positions significantly undermine the NBA's efforts to promote diversity and inclusion; damage the NBA's relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA's relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders. Mr. Sterling engaged in other misconduct as well, including issuing false and misleading press statement about this matter."
Understanding the Sterling Termination Timeline:
Saturday, April 26 -- Recording of Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano released by TMZ.
Tuesday, April 29 -- NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for Life and fined him $2.5 million under the constitution's Article 24 (L).
Thursday, May 1 -- NBA's 10-member advisory/finance committee held a call and voted unanimously to move forward with the termination process.
Monday, May 21 -- NBA issues official charge against Donald Sterling to terminate his ownership of the Clippers in accordance with article 14 section (2) of the NBA constitution. The NBA has three (3) days to notify Donald Sterling in writing of the charge.
Tuesday, May 27 -- In accordance with article 14 section (b) Sterling has five (5) days to provide a written response to the charge for termination of ownership.
Tuesday, June 3 -- In accordance with article 14 section (b) the NBA's Board of Governors will meet to have a hearing and vote on the termination of Donald Sterling's ownership of the LA Clippers.
In accordance with article 14 section (d) Minnesota Timberwolves owner, Glen Taylor, will preside over the hearing in his capacity as Chairman of the NBA Board of Governors.
In accordance with article 13 section (g) if three-fourths (3/4) vote to sustain the charges then Sterling's ownership will be immediately terminated and the team would immediately shift to the control of the NBA Commissioner. Note: There is a provision that would allow Sterling to retain his ownership if a motion is duly made and 2/3 of all the governors vote to invoke article 15 -- Alternatives to Termination provisions.
Ownership of a NBA franchise comes with an understanding that it is not a private business like a corner drugstore in which an owner has the right to operate however he decides best. Ownership is subject to an acceptance of a variety of restrictions that benefit the league and its popularity and best interest. All the discussion of Sterling's legal options miss the point. Public opinion polls favoring Sterling's continued ownership assume that his private business is being "taken." This is not the case.
Sterling specifically agreed that if he violated the league constitution and bylaws that his franchise ownership could be revoked. He agreed to accept the judgment of the league as "final and binding." He also agreed not to challenge the ruling in court. Commissioner Silver followed due process in operating in tandem with the Players' Association and consulting with a myriad of relevant parties before suspending Sterling. Had he delayed his ruling any longer, irreparable damage would have occurred to the NBA. Well compensated lawyers can construct a challenge to virtually anything, it does not mean they have a controlling argument.
The die has been cast. Somewhere on or around midnight of June 3, the Los Angeles Clippers will be under the control of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the process for finding new owners will begin. The long ugly nightmare of the injection of racial intolerance into sports is about to end.
-- Leigh Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and golf, including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times, among more than 60 first-round selections. His clients have included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire." Follow him on Twitter @leighsteinberg.